Tag Archives: Outbreak

Norovirus outbreak: The two places where norovirus infections are HIGHEST

Relaxed Covid restrictions have recently given norovirus infections a window to enhanced public transmission.

Routine surveillance from Public Health England (PHE) recently picked up on a series of norovirus outbreaks across the UK.

Data shows from May to July, cases of the vomiting bug have skyrocketed, now close to pre-pandemic levels.

Educational settings have acted as primary vectors, with incidence highest in childcare facilities and nurseries.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Health
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Winter vomiting virus – Public Health England issues outbreak warning

“Do not return to work, or send children to school or nursery, until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared.”

As Covid restrictions have eased, there has been an increase of the winter vomiting virus (also known as norovirus) in all age groups.

The highly infectious virus is easily transmitted through contact with infected individuals or contaminated surfaces.

Usually, at this time of year, PHE receives around 53 reports of a norovirus outbreak; it’s followed this pattern for the past five years, except this year.

READ MORE: Arthritis diet: The nutritious food that can trigger inflammatory arthritis symptoms

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Health
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As Thailand hit by its worst COVID outbreak, economic risks rise

Thailand risks fueling its decade-high unemployment rate and household debt with the imposition of lockdown-like measures to contain the deadliest Covid outbreak to hit the nation.

The greater Bangkok area, accounting for about 50% of Thailand’s gross domestic product, will shutter shopping malls, spas, massage and beauty clinics for at least two weeks starting Monday. A mandatory work-from-home rule for most government employees, overnight curfews and curbs on domestic travel are set to hurt retailers, airlines and restaurant operators, already reeling from some form of Covid restrictions for more than a year.

Thailand is tightening restrictions to stem the spread of the more contagious delta variant of Covid that’s also fueled a surge in cases from Indonesia to Vietnam, and scuppered their plans to open up borders. The latest measures may further delay the Thai economy’s recovery from its worst slump in more than two decades and derail Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s target to welcome back vaccinated tourists by as early as mid-October.

“The economic hit will be increasingly bigger with each lockdown even if the length of the lockdown is the same,” said Maria Lapiz, managing director of Maybank Kim Eng Securities Thailand. “This is because many companies are already nearing the end of their tether after so many months of ever-shrinking revenues and stubbornly high cost of existence.”

Lapiz sees Thai households being hit hard and corporate earnings downgraded, while Radhika Rao, an economist at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore, says “downside risks are rising” for the growth forecast of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

Here’s a look at what the latest Covid restrictions mean for the Thai economy:

GDP Growth:

Even before the announcement of the latest measures, Thailand’s central bank saw “significant downside risk” to its current 1.8% economic growth forecast for this year, saying a prolonged outbreak will squeeze business liquidity and hurt employment in the services sector. It expects the economy to return to pre-Covid levels only in early 2023 if herd immunity is delayed to the end of next year.

On Monday, the Bank of Thailand said it may slash its 2021 GDP forecast to factor in the worsening Covid outbreak, and will closely monitor the situation to see whether additional policy measures are required.

“While expectations were that this year would provide breathing room for the economy owing to vaccine availability, the economic impact is likely to mount until the rollout reaches critical mass,” Rao of DBS Bank said. “Rebound expectations hinge on public spending and exports, while a weak consumption clouds private sector investment trends.”

Unemployment, Debt:

The jobless rate is likely to rise from 1.96% at the end of the first quarter, the highest level since 2009, as more people will probably lose their jobs with a prolonged outbreak and curbs on businesses. The hit to the services industry in cities may drive more people into agriculture, a trend seen during a nationwide lockdown last year.

The Bank of Thailand last month predicted a “W-shaped” recovery in the labor market, slower than the past rebounds because of what it calls deep scars in the fragile services industry.

Thai household debt, which surged to an 18-year high of 90.5% of GDP, may further rise given the loss of jobs and income due to the tightening restrictions. That will seriously dent consumer spending, a key engine of economic growth.

Vaccinations:

Thailand has distributed about 12 million doses of vaccines, enough to cover about 9% of its population, ranking the country behind more than 120 other territories in inoculation rates. The government needs to ramp up vaccinations and consider spending the bulk of a planned 500 billion baht borrowing plan “to secure more quality vaccines rather than compensating those affected groups and stimulating economy,” according to Kampon Adireksombat, deputy managing director at SCB Securities’ Chief Investment Office.

“If we lock down without ramping up vaccinations, new cases may temporarily drop before rising again,” Kampon said. “We will be in the ugly cycle of lockdowns and compensation. This will hurt the economic outlook next year.”

Currency, Stocks:

Investors have already borne the brunt from the worsening pandemic in Thailand, with the nation’s currency and stocks both tumbling for four weeks in a row. While a strong dollar has contributed to the baht slumping to a near 15-month low, stocks have suffered from foreign investors pulling out a net $ 2.6 billion so far this year.

Earnings of consumer goods companies, retailers, airlines, hotels and shopping mall operators may be hurt by a weak economy and continued restrictions, while the baht may be more influenced by the U.S. dollar.

“Foreign investors are likely to avoid high-risk emerging markets including Thailand,” SCB’s Kampon said. “The baht will remain weak and the central bank will only step in to curb excessive moves. But it should be good for exports, which should support the economy.”

Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3 in doubt after Covid outbreak in Gypsy King’s camp

Wilder, on the other hand, has been vocal in the build-up, and has already declared he believes Fury will cheat in order to retain the WBC strap.

The Bronze Bomber has frequently claimed Fury tampered with his gloves in their second fight, and has declared the fight was stopped prematurely, as well as claiming his ring walk attire was too heavy, causing him to be unable to move properly.

Now, he has claimed Fury’s team is preparing a “master plan” to cheat and gain an illegal advantage.

He said this week: “You think he ain’t gonna try to cheat this time? Oh they’re thinking of it, they’re coming up with a master plan.

Author: Daniel Blackham
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Sport

What experts suggest you do after hundreds exposed during COVID outbreak at ministry camp

LEAGUE CITY, Texas (KTRK) — Clear Creek Community Church in League City canceled in-person events this week after reporting an outbreak of COVID-19 during their student ministry camp.

Galveston County Health Authority Dr. Philip Kaiser said they have confirmed at least 42 positive cases from Galveston County residents who attended the camp, but lead Pastor Bruce Wesley says more than 125 members have reported positive cases.

The church reportedly rented campgrounds outside of Galveston County exclusively for more than 450 adults and youths from sixth through 12th grade.

SEE ALSO: COVID-19 outbreak reported among Galveston Co. church members after camp

Galveston County is now investigating the outbreak to determine if the Delta variant sparked the mass infection.

“We’re testing it for the Delta variant to see if that’s the cause for it spreading so rapidly among that group,” said Kaiser.

Among the infections, Kaiser said there are breakthrough cases where vaccinated people contracted the virus.

“It’s a good cautionary tale for other churches that are considering having get-togethers. You know, be careful, particularly, when you’re getting together kids, most of whom haven’t been vaccinated yet because they’re not old enough,” said Dr. Kaiser.

Children 11 and younger are still not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S.

SEE ALSO: COVID-19 vaccine trials underway in Houston for children under age 2

Dr. Stan Spinner, the chief medical officer and vice president of pediatrics and urgent care at Texas Children’s Hospital, said that even though summer camps are back in full swing, the virus still exists.

Spinner said the decision to send an un-vaccinated child to camp depends on the camp and each child. His biggest recommendation is to prioritize small group gatherings.

“Ones that don’t have large numbers of kids that are mixing and matching all the time. The ones that kind of keep the group together, would be a little bit less of a risk,” Spinner said.

He advises all parents to ask about social distancing and hygiene protocols, if the camp has a plan for a child with COVID symptoms and if all employees are vaccinated.

“You know we’re not asking what their religious beliefs are. We’re not asking who they voted for in an election. We’re asking how protected they are to protect ourselves. I think that’s a fair question,” said Spinner.

Outdoor camps are safer than indoor camps, day camps are safer than sleepaway camps and small groups are safer than larger crowds.

“It’s all what that risk-benefit ratio is for your child,” said Spinner. “If your child really enjoys camp, but they missed out on a lot that last year and a half. So I think it’s relatively safe.”

Clear Creek Community Church posted this letter to their website from Wesley.

Dear Church Family,

Sunday services at CCCC campuses are canceled for Sunday, July 4 and Wednesday, July 7 due to a significant number of people testing positive for COVID-19 after returning from camp.

Our recent Student Ministry Camp was a wonderful experience with many of our students placing their faith in Jesus and growing in their faith. More than 400 people participated in our Camp Creek (6th grade – 12th grade) last week, the reports are enthusiastically positive.

Unfortunately, upon return from camp, 125+ campers and adults reported to us that they tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, hundreds more were exposed to COVID-19 at camp. And hundreds of others were likely exposed when infected people returned home from camp. We seek to remain in contact with those impacted. If you, or someone in your family, begins to have symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.

In cooperation with the Galveston County Health District, we decided to cancel services and to issue a press release. We anticipate that services will resume Sunday, July 11

From the beginning of the pandemic, we have sought to love our neighbors by practicing strict safety protocols. We are surprised and saddened by this turn of events. Our hearts break for those infected with the virus. Please pray for a speedy and complete recovery for all of those affected

Messages left with the church were not immediately returned.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: Shelley Childers
Read more here >>> ABC13

Balearic warning: Islands could move to amber soon after mass COVID-19 outbreak

A spike in cases in the Balearic Islands could threaten its place on the green list. The islands, which are part of the “green watchlist” could become amber soon as a mass COVID-19 outbreak has been detected due to due hundreds of school trips in the past days.

The Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, were added to the UK’s green list last week during the last traffic light system review.

Although it was considered a “safe area” for its low rate of COVID-19 cases, a spike has now been reported.

The islands have seen their average case rate double in 10 days to 300 per 100,000.

The small island of Formentera has the highest at 109 – the UK average case rate is 184.

READ MORE: Malta refuses to accept NHS app as proof of UK vaccination

This means the Spanish islands could move to the amber list soon, as the Balearics were added to the UK’s green “watchlist”.

Countries on the green “watchlist” can become amber without notice if there is a spike in cases in the region.

At the moment, British holidaymakers can enjoy quarantine-free travel to the islands with no need to quarantine on their return.

However, according to the traffic light system, they are “most at risk” of being downgraded to “amber” at short notice.

What do you think? Join the debate in the comments section here

DON’T MISS

The islands have begun vaccinating the 16-29 age group this week, which is believed to be driving the increase in infections.

The main cause, however, is believed to be thousands of students who have visited the islands on school trips this week, with over 20,000 returning home infected.

Dr Javier Arranz, a spokesperson for the Autonomous Committee for Infectious Diseases, said: “Young people who are not vaccinated are the ones who are becoming infected.

“We have to see how these numbers behave in the coming days as we take control of these outbreaks.”

The regional tourism chief for the Balearic Islands, Iago Negueruela, said that “this type of practices must not be tolerated.”

Although the islands have been on the green list for just a few days, the Government could move them to amber anytime.

Portugal, which was added to the green list in May, saw thousands of tourists rushing to get home after it was moved to the amber list with very short notice.

This comes after thousands of Britons arrived on the islands yesterday, on the official day the holiday spot was added to the UK’s “safe list”.

Author: ANDREA BLAZQUEZ
This post originally appeared on Daily Express

‘Fugitive dust’ seems to have caused last summer’s salmonella outbreak from peaches

What caused last summer’s national recall of peaches? According to recent findings from the Food and Drug Administration, dust blown into orchards from nearby livestock.

From late June to August of last year, 101 people ended up sick with salmonella, a food-borne bacteria more commonly associated with raw cookie dough, eggs, and reptiles. No one died, but 28 were hospitalized. (Different types of salmonella cause different diseases, including typhoid fever. This outbreak involved the more common presentation colloquially known as salmonella, which involves several days of diarrhea and fever.)

About half of all salmonella outbreaks are linked to produce, as we’ve written before—but peaches are, according to the FDA, a new source. Before last year, peaches had been the culprit in three national food-borne outbreaks, including a 2014 listeria outbreak that led to national recalls. Still, none involved salmonella, the second-most common cause of food poisoning.

But fruit, and especially frozen fruits, have increasingly been linked to food borne disease, including hepatitis A outbreaks from strawberries and pomegranates.

Peaches and other fruit might seem like surprising sources of bacteria, says Alida Sorenson, a food safety supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture who has tracked fruit outbreaks before. “But it can happen. We had a weird one where we had listeria growing on caramel apples.”

The national investigation began last August, as dozens fell ill. Interviews with about 60 poisoned people showed that about 50 of them had eaten fresh peaches soon before getting sick, and the FDA issued a recall that hit everything from Kroger to Food Lion to Walmart.

From there, FDA investigators traced peaches up the supply chain, which led to the California grower and packer Prima-Wawona that had supplied “the majority of peaches associated with points of service during the timeframe.” A parallel Canadian investigation pointed in the same direction.

[Related: Don’t worry about eggs—these other foods are way more likely to give you Salmonella]

But that investigation also leaves some outstanding questions: the investigators didn’t actually find evidence of the guilty strain of salmonella on the leaves or fruits of the orchard. Much as epidemiologists have used genetic sequencing to trace the spread of COVID variants across the US, it’s become commonplace to hunt for a specific lineage of a food-borne illness using a DNA trail. 

No traces showed up on the orchard itself, but that doesn’t mean that investigators didn’t find any salmonella. As it turns out, there’s a poultry plant and a dairy farm adjacent to several of the fields.

Investigators found salmonella strains on trees facing both of those sites. And, tellingly, the type found near the poultry barns was almost identical to previously identified chicken diseases, while those near the dairy matched cattle diseases, indicating that the bacteria had spread from each animal to nearby trees.

The running theory, according to the FDA, is that “fugitive dust” from those livestock operations blew in on the wind, carrying bacteria with it.

That’s not exactly surprising, Sorenson says. “With any produce grown outside, it’s kind of unavoidable. We’ve seen [E. coli] outbreaks before associated with deer walking through the area, or birds that poop on the produce or in the lettuce as they fly over. In the Southeast, we’ll see a lot of salmonella associated with reptiles.”

Dust has been a research focus since the early 2000s because chick-raising operations are known to produce tons of salmonella-laden detritus. This type of interaction between large-scale produce and animal farming has also led to E. coli outbreaks when animal-contaminated water has been used to irrigate crops like spinach. The FDA findings themselves recommend that “all farms… be cognizant of and assess risks that may be posed by adjacent and nearby land uses.” But beyond monitoring for that contamination, it doesn’t suggest that there’s a lot to be done.

“There are way more outbreaks going on than we detect or know about,” says Sorenson. “Smaller ones, associated with smaller farms, where only a few people get sick. It’s just a matter of when there’s a big company with a lot of product and a lot of people get sick.”

(The CDC estimates that for every reported case of salmonella, seven go undetected.)

Land use, along with the increasing global reach of those potentially contaminated crops, is one reason that these surprising outbreaks are becoming more common. The other, more hopeful reason, says Sorenson, is that public health officials have gotten better at detecting outbreaks.

According to a 2017 research survey on salmonella epidemiology, open-ended interviews have made investigators better at catching surprise culprits, like peaches. And genetic surveillance allows investigators to quickly connect new outbreaks to previous sources of contamination. “We’re finding things that we wouldn’t have found before,” Sorenson says. “We can say, ‘oh, we tested this chicken, and then we looked back at historical data, and there was an outbreak that matched this. Wow, maybe this chicken was why that outbreak happened.’ We can look at things in reverse and say, oh, that might be an ongoing issue.”

Philip Kiefer

Author: Sara Chodosh
This post originally appeared on Science – Popular Science

Harry Redknapp, 74, among stars forced to isolate after Covid outbreak on BBC's The Wheel

Harry Redknapp, 74, is reportedly among stars having to isolate after a crew member tested positive for coronavirus on the set of Michael McIntyre’s show The Wheel over the weekend. The celebrities and fellow crew will have to remain at home for 10 days to take precautions not to spread the virus further.

The Mirror reported that some of the stars featuring on the BBC quiz show came into contact with the infected person during filming last Friday [28 May] evening.

An insider revealed that only a “small” number of people mixed with the individual, who was said to be working backstage and away from the rest of the production team at the time.

The publication also reported that Harry has “cancelled all his planned engagements” this week including a lunch where he was said to be giving a talk.

READ MORE: A Place in the Sun: Jonnie Irwin stunned as couple walk away from home

Carol has not stated whether she too has had to isolate or escaped having to quaratine, with the former Countdown star having shared a photo from the set on 29 May.

She posted a selfie of herself, penning: “Had a top time filming The Wheel with @McInTweet tonight……top gang too.”

The 60-year-old followed it up with another tweet, teasing who is joining her on the show: “So the crew tonight… The joy who is Harry Redknapp… Andi Oliver @andisn Nick Grimshaw, @angelascanlon.”

A BBC spokesman for The Wheel said: “We can confirm an individual has tested positive for Covid.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feed

Indian variant outbreak forces 1,000 pupils to self-isolate – thousands more to be tested

So far 28 positive cases of Covid have been discovered in Leek, Staffordshire.

They were all linked to Westwood College, St Edward’s Middle School and Leek High School.

Staffordshire County Council believes that some of these cases will be the quicker spreading Indian variant.

In a bid to control the outbreak, more than 1,000 students and staff are now self-isolating after infections were found in their bubbles.

Anyone with links to the schools is being asked to get a coronavirus PCR test rather than a rapid-turnaround lateral flow test.

This is because PCR tests are sent for genotyping – which will help identify which variant of Covid is spreading across the West Midlands town.

READ MORE: Channel crossings: More than 500 migrants make journey in four days

Extra coronavirus testing sites are also being arranged.

But it is feared that the mutant strain could have already spread into the community.

This emerged after staff and customers who visited The Black Lion in Cheddleton and The Three Horseshoes Country Inn and Spa in Blackshaw Moor between May 22 and 23 are also being told to get swabbed.

Fears about the Indian variant spreading across the UK have been rumbling for weeks.

It has killed tens of thousands in India and is more transmissible than the original strain of Covid and its Kent variant counterpart.

This has led to increasing pressure on Boris Johnson to look into delaying lifting all social distancing measures on June 21 – a move which would outrage the libertarian side of his party.

He has so far resisted, even after the government’s former chief scientific adviser, Prof Sir Mark Walport warned about the dangers of not trying to control the Covid variant’s spread.

He told the Guardian it was “not impossible” that the country was in the foothills of a new wave.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also paused the loosening of restrictions for millions of Scots due to rising case rates earlier today.

But, so far at least, Number 10 has stood firm.

A spokesman said: “The prime minister has said on a number of occasions that we haven’t seen anything in the data but we will continue to look at the data, we will continue to look at the latest scientific evidence as we move through June towards 21 June.”

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

U.S. Faces Outbreak of Anti-Semitic Threats and Violence

A brick shattering a window of a kosher pizzeria on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Jewish diners outside a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles attacked by men shouting anti-Semitic threats. Vandalism at synagogues in Arizona, Illinois and New York.

In Salt Lake City, a man scratched a swastika into the front door of an Orthodox synagogue in the early morning hours of May 16. “This was the kind of thing that would never happen in Salt Lake City,” said Rabbi Avremi Zippel, whose parents founded Chabad Lubavitch of Utah almost 30 years ago. “But it’s on the rise around the country.”

The synagogue has fortified its already substantial security measures in response. “It’s ridiculous, it’s insane that this is how we have to view houses of worship in the United States in 2021,” Rabbi Zippel said, describing fortified access points, visible guards and lighting and security camera systems. “But we will do it.”

The past several weeks have seen an outbreak of anti-Semitic threats and violence across the United States, stoking fear among Jews in small towns and major cities. During the two weeks of clashes in Israel and Gaza this month, the Anti-Defamation League collected 222 reports of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism and violence in the United States, compared with 127 over the previous two weeks.

Incidents are “literally happening from coast to coast, and spreading like wildfire,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the A.D.L.’s chief executive. “The sheer audacity of these attacks feels very different.”

Until the latest surge, anti-Semitic violence in recent years was largely considered a right-wing phenomenon, driven by a white supremacist movement emboldened by rhetoric from former President Donald J. Trump, who often trafficked in stereotypes.

Many of the most recent incidents, by contrast, have come from perpetrators expressing support for the Palestinian cause and criticism of Israel’s right-wing government.

“This is why Jews feel so terrified in this moment,” Mr. Greenblatt said, observing that there are currents of anti-Semitism flowing from both the left and the right. “For four years it seemed to be stimulated from the political right, with devastating consequences.” But at the scenes of the most recent attacks, he noted, “no one is wearing MAGA hats.”

President Biden has denounced the recent assaults as “despicable” and said “they must stop.” “It’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor,” he wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

The outbreak has been especially striking in the New York region, which is home to the world’s largest Jewish population outside of Israel.

Last Thursday a brawl broke out in Times Square between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters, and it soon spread to the Diamond District, a part of Midtown that is home to many Jewish-owned businesses.

At least one roving group of men waving Palestinian flags shouted abuse at and shoved Jewish pedestrians and bystanders. Video of the scenes spread widely online and drew outrage from elected officials and a deep sense of foreboding among many Jewish New Yorkers.

The New York Police Department arrested 27 people, and two people were hospitalized, including a woman who was burned when fireworks were launched from a car at a group of people on the sidewalk.

The Police Department opened a hate crimes investigation into the beating of a Jewish man, and a Brooklyn man, Waseem Awawdeh, 23, was charged in connection with the attack.

The next day, federal prosecutors charged another man, Ali Alaheri, 29, with setting fire to a building that housed a synagogue and yeshiva in Borough Park, a Brooklyn neighborhood in the city’s Hasidic Jewish heartland. Mr. Alaheri also assaulted a Hasidic man in the same neighborhood, prosecutors said.

The Police Department’s hate crimes task force was also investigating anti-Semitic incidents that took place last Thursday and Saturday, including an assault in Manhattan and aggravated harassment in Brooklyn.

Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, an Orthodox Jewish writer on the Upper East Side, said she had encountered a palpable anxiety among congregants at Park East Synagogue, where her husband serves as a rabbi.

“Quite a few” synagogue members had in recent months asked for help planning a move to Israel, she said, and she secured Swiss passports for her own children after watching a presidential debate in October.

“I know this sounds crazy because on the Upper East Side there was always this feeling that you can’t get safer than here,” she said.

But her fears are not unfounded. Last year, while out in the neighborhood with their young son, her husband was accosted by a man “shouting obscenities, and ‘You Jews! You Jews!’” she said.

Her son still “talks about it all the time,” she said. Recently, he built a synagogue out of Lego blocks and added a Lego security patrol outside, she said. He is 5 years old.

“Nobody cares about things like this because it is just words,” she added. “But what if this person was armed? And what if the next person is armed?”

The recent spike is occurring on top of a longer-term trend of high-profile incidents of anti-Semitism in the United States.

In Charlottesville, activists at the Unite the Right rally in 2017 chanted “Jews will not replace us!” as they protested the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. The next year, a gunman killed 11 people and wounded six who had gathered for Shabbat morning services at the Tree of Life — Or L’Simcha synagogue in Pittsburgh. At a synagogue in a suburb of San Diego in 2019, a gunman opened fire at a service on the last day of Passover.

The A.D.L. has been tracking anti-Semitic incidents in the country since 1979, and its past three annual reports have included two of its highest tallies. The organization recorded more than 1,200 incidents of anti-Semitic harassment last year, a 10 percent increase from the previous year.

The number of confirmed anti-Semitic incidents in New York City jumped noticeably in March to 15, from nine the month before and three in January, according to the Police Department.

Sgt. Jessica McRorie, a department spokeswoman, said that as of Sunday there had been 80 anti-Semitic hate crime complaints this year, compared with 62 during the same period last year.

The attack in 2018 at Tree of Life, in the distinctly Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, was galvanizing for many Jewish leaders. “Every synagogue across the country has increased security since the attack in Pittsburgh,” said Rabbi Adam Starr, who heads Congregation Ohr HaTorah, one of several synagogues along a stretch of road in the Jewish neighborhood of Toco Hills in the Atlanta area.

“You look across the street from our synagogue and there’s a big church,” he said. “And the big difference between the church and the synagogue is the church doesn’t have a gate around it.”

Rabbi Starr has stepped up security again within the last two weeks, increasing the number of off-duty police officers on site during Shabbat morning services.

For some Jews, the last few weeks have accelerated a sense of unease that has been percolating for years.

“We’ve all read about what Jewish life was like in Europe before the Holocaust,” said Danny Groner, a member of an Orthodox synagogue in the Bronx. “There’s always this question: Why didn’t they leave? The conversation in my circles is, are we at that point right now?”

Mr. Groner does not think so, he was quick to say. But he wonders, “What would have to happen tomorrow or next week or next month to say ‘enough is enough’?”

Jews and others were particularly stung by comments by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who has spent the past week repeatedly comparing mask and vaccine mandates to the treatment of Jews by Nazi Germany, and by the Republican leadership’s slow response to her remarks.

In Salt Lake City, Chabad Lubavitch hosted an event for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot less than 12 hours after the discovery of the swastika on its front door. Rabbi Zippel told his congregation, “I hope it annoys the heck out of whoever did this.”

He was proud, he reflected later, of the way his congregation responded to the defacing of its house of worship. “We do not cower to these sorts of acts,” he said, recalling emails and conversations in which congregants vowed to continue wearing the kipa in public, for example. “The outward desire to be publicly and proudly Jewish has been extremely inspiring.”

Author: Ruth Graham and Liam Stack
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News