NYC Health Committee Chairman Cheers Packed Crowd in Times Square, then Warns of Second COVID Wave

People react as they watch a speech by Democratic 2020 presidential nominee Joe Biden after news media announced that he has won the 2020 presidential election in New York City, N.Y., November 7, 2020. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

New York City Council member Mark D. Levine, chairman of the health committee, warned that the city was in the midst of a second coronavirus wave one day after he appeared to cheer on a densely-packed crowd celebrating the election results in Times Square.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, revelers crowded the streets in some parts of New York on Saturday after networks projected that Joe Biden would defeat President Trump in the general election. Levine appeared to approve of a celebration in Times Square in a post on Twitter, showing video of residents chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

“An emotional crowd in Times Square watching [Joe Biden] & [Kamala Harris] make history in first speeches as Pres- & VP-elect,” Levine wrote.

However, on Sunday Levine warned that New York was in the midst of a second coronavirus wave and implored residents to avoid large social gatherings.

“It’s time to start rallying New Yorkers—again—to flatten the curve,” Levine wrote. Residents should “work from home,” “avoid indoor social gatherings with people outside your household,” as well as “keep 6 ft. apart where possible.” Coronavirus spreads most easily in indoor settings, although the illness can also spread through close contact outdoors.

Levine has previously been criticized for comments that appeared to minimize coronavirus risk. When residents poured into the streets for George Floyd demonstrations in June, Levine called on observers to “blame racism” and the police if the city experienced a second coronavirus spike.

“Let’s be clear about something: if there is a spike in coronavirus cases in the next two weeks, don’t blame the protesters. Blame racism,” Levine wrote on Twitter. “And let’s remember that the police are increasing COVID risk by: using tear gas; herding demonstrators into tight spaces; putting people in crowded jails.”

New York is one of the worst-hit areas of the U.S. since the start of the pandemic, with over 24,000 deaths and over 3 percent of all residents infected.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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