Letter from Dr. Rosen and the Gedaliah Society.
Due to the very difficult nature of the question as to whether families can spend Pesach together, and the obvious need for healing within families and the community at large, we will attempt to further address the issue.
We have been diligently attempting to keep track of the numbers of people who have had the virus, as well as the numbers of those recovered. It would seem that the majority of those susceptible individuals have been exposed, and most have recovered by now. This is the common experience in most families. This would seemingly lead to the obvious conclusion that families should be allowed to spend Pesach together and use the opportunity to start healing, and enjoy the Yom-Tov.
Here are the problems:
The disease can be lethal G-d forbid, and therefore one extra case is unacceptable.
In most situations we cannot be sure, that “everyone” has been through it, and we certainly can’t be sure that “nobody”in the family is possibly infectious. There are case reports of those with minor persistent symptoms possibly being infectious. The exact question of “who” and “when” people are no longer infectious remains with an element of doubt. We do not have an available blood test to adequately answer this.
It appears as if some rare patients have a relapse of sorts. What this means from a ‘virology’ stand point is unclear at this time, but it does present the possibility of human interaction playing an unknown role in this scenario.
We recently conducted a phone survey of those elderly who did follow instructions and stayed at home, isolated. It would appear that approximately 50% of this group remains at risk. Any even slight uptick in cases represents a real danger to these older people, as they increasingly suffer from their isolation, and social leakage occurs.
Maintain social distancing!
Continue to wear a mask in public, so as not to inadvertently spread the virus.
Those who live in Crown Heights, should stay here for Pesach. It is the safest place to be!! BH
Those who live in other communities, at different stages of the cycle, should please stay home. We the people of this wonderful schuna, who “live” hachnosas orchim, need to protect ourselves. Please forgive us.
In light of all the above persistent questions,and the dangerous nature of the problem, weighed against the tremendous need and desire for families to be together, I need to make the following request. Please don’t make large sedorim. Mixing the multigenerational family together, as beautiful as it is and as much a part of Pesach as it is, may still present a danger!
May we all merit an end to this dreadful suffering, and merit to speedily shecht the Korban Pesach together with the Rebbe in Yerushalayim, crowded “shoulder to shoulder” as one!
Eli Rosen, together with the Gedaliah Society