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IN FEBRUARY NEW YORK HEALTH OFFICIALS TOLD RESIDENTS TO CONGREGATE IN HUGE CROWDS IN “DEFIANCE” OF CORONAVIRUS

Mar 23, 2020 | ,

Back in February, health officials in New York told residents to congregate in huge crowds in “defiance” of coronavirus, a move that could have exposed thousands of people to COVID-19.

New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot posted a tweet on February 9 urging citizens to flock to Chinatown in large numbers to celebrate the lunar new year while suggesting that advice to avoid crowds was “misinformation.”

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Commissioner Oxiris Barbot

@NYCHealthCommr

Today our city is celebrating the parade in Chinatown, a beautiful cultural tradition with a rich history in our city. I want to remind everyone to enjoy the parade and not change any plans due to misinformation spreading about . https://on.nyc.gov/377LlcH 

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A Guide to Lunar New Year in NYC

Where to celebrate the holiday.

nycgo.com

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“Today our city is celebrating the #LunarNewYear parade in Chinatown, a beautiful cultural tradition with a rich history in our city. I want to remind everyone to enjoy the parade and not change any plans due to misinformation spreading about #coronavirus,” she wrote.

On the same day, Mark D. Levine, Chair of New York City Council health committee, lauded how “huge crowds gathering in NYC’s Chinatown” was a “powerful show of defiance of #coronavirus scare,” tweeting four images of large groups of people gathered to celebrate the occasion.

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Mark D. Levine

@MarkLevineNYC

In powerful show of defiance of scare, huge crowds gathering in NYC’s Chinatown for ceremony ahead of annual parade. Chants of “be strong Wuhan!”

If you are staying away, you are missing out!

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Those tweets are receiving a fresh backlash of criticism given what has unfolded since. Many of the individuals who showed up for the celebrations were Chinese and could have visited China in the weeks before.

Confirmed cases of coronavirus across New York state surged 38 per cent overnight to 20,875 total cases. There have been 157 deaths.

New York is the hardest hit state in the country and New York City accounts for 12,305 confirmed infections.

The advice given by the officials was in line with World Health Organization rhetoric at the time, which discouraged the “stigmatization” of Chinese people.

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