PROVIDENCE – Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt, an infectious diseases doctor from New York, is asking the Jewish community to be a role model for the rest of the country by following three important guidelines this winter: masking, social distancing and hand-washing.
In a Zoom talk hosted by The Kollel Center of Jewish Studies on Oct. 18, Glatt told about 40 listeners, “We have to take responsibility for what we need to do” and that “God is asking us to be the light unto the nations.”
Glatt said he doesn’t think we need to return to lockdown to fight COVID-19. Instead, he said, we should “reenergize and understand that we can maintain what we have … by not giving up hope.”
The rabbi said he recently led an in-person service where the congregants wore masks and sat 6 feet apart. No infections were traced to the services, he said, showing that gathering together safely is possible as long as the guidelines are strictly followed.
Even after a vaccine is approved, Glatt said at least 75% of the population will need to be vaccinated to lower the risk of infection.
In the meantime, he said, masking continues to be key to protecting yourself and others.
“No one is safe … and everyone should act like they have it just to be safe,” he said.
Glatt also reported that medical professionals are now seeing patients who have been reinfected with the virus.
“It doesn’t happen right away, but after a certain amount of time, you can get it again. Even if you have antibodies, it doesn’t mean you won’t get it again,” he said.
But Glatt said that “medically… we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” He is optimistic that there will be a vaccine for health-care workers before the end of the year.
In concluding his talk, Glatt said that we control our own destiny. If we follow the guidelines of masking, social distancing and hand-washing, “things will work out,” he said.
Glatt is the associate rabbi at Congregation Anshei Chesed, in Hewlett, New York, and assistant rabbi at Young Israel of Woodmere, in New York. He is chairman of medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital, and a clinical professor of medicine at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, both in New York. He is also a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
The lecture was sponsored by the Schechter family in memory of Dorothy Schechter.
SETH CHITWOOD is a freelance writer from Barrington. He recently graduated from the American Film Institute with a Master’s Degree in Screenwriting. He is the Creative Director of the production company, Angelwood Pictures. Reach him at www.sethchitwood.com