Tuesday night, protests against stricter regulations in coronavirus hot-spot zones ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo turned violent in parts of southern Brooklyn, home to many of New York City’s Orthodox Jewish communities, where infection rates are spiking.

We think measures to help people stay healthy inspiring violence in the streets sounds unbelievable, and we’re probably not alone.

The overall statewide infection rate is 1.05%, but hot-spot areas have a 5.1% infection rate, Cuomo said during a media telephone call Wednesday. The infection rate in the hot spots is five times what it is statewide.

Cuomo announced tougher rules on social distancing, maximum capacity and mass gatherings in hot spots in Brooklyn, Orange and Rockland counties, Broome County and Western New York.

The infection rate Tuesday in Broome County was the highest of the hot spots at 6.1%, with Rockland County at 4.5%, Orange at 3.9% and Brooklyn at 2.2%.

To say New York state is going in the wrong direction with COVID-19 is a huge understatement.

Within one mile of the hot spot ZIP codes mass gatherings are prohibited and nonessential businesses are closed, with schools closing down and reverting to remote learning and take-out only allowed in restaurants.

Houses of worship in these zones are limited to 10 people maximum or 25% capacity. The tighter COVID rules are in place for a 14-day period and will be lifted if the infection rate gets under control.

Whether or not we agree with Cuomo’s orders or his recent blunt, petulant style, New York can’t ignore the impact another statewide lockdown would have on the economy and our educational system, to name just two. Like it or not, harsher steps — not street violence — have to be taken if we hope to bring an end to this terrible pandemic.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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