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Churches Remain Closed In New York City's Coronavirus Hot Zones Following Judge's Ruling

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Churches in New York's coronavirus cluster zones will remain closed by court order.

The ruling comes amid a setback in the nationwide fight against COVID-19 and a dire warning about so-called "COVID fatigue," CBS2's Christina Fan reported Saturday.

The lawsuit filed by the Diocese of Brooklyn was just one of several filed by religious groups against Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Many complaints came from Orthodox Jewish communities, which claimed they were unfairly singled-out by the governor's restrictions.

"Public worship is not a nonessential activity. It is an activity protected by the United States Constitution," said attorney Ron Coleman.

MORE: Federal Judge Refuses To Block Gov. Cuomo's Order Limiting Capacity In Houses Of Worship In COVID Cluster Zones

But, the court agreed with Cuomo. A judge ruled it is in the public interest to limit attendance at religious services.

While the restrictions may disappoint religious groups, they may be helping to prevent a new wave of the virus, which health experts say is on the way.

Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, said he was disappointed with the ruling, but that churches will comply with the restrictions.


Cases in New Jersey are soaring.

"For our practice and our community here in northern New Jersey, we're beginning what I feel is a second wave," said Dr. Alexander Salerno of Salerno Medical Associates.

Dr. Solerno said his office in Newark is testing at least 40 people daily. Last week, he had 25 positive tests in one day. That equals the total number of positives Dr. Solerno saw the entire month of August.

MORE: Chris Christie's Bout With COVID A Stark Reminder Of The Dangers Of Letting Your Guard Down

At least seven states set records for infections this week, with 63,000 new cases confirmed in one day.

"This is not the same virus from March that it is today," said Dr. Solerno. "It keeps changing and morphing... And it's not so much the silent spreaders like we were seeing in the summertime. But, now we're seeing symptomatic COVID."

More than seven months into the pandemic, doctors say they're seeing too many people getting complacent - a concern getting national attention.

Chris Christie, New Jersey's former governor, said the week he spent in the ICU being treated for COVID-19 gave him time to think about the mistake he made by not wearing a mask at the White House.

MORE: Chris Christie On COVID Battle: 'I Was Wrong To Not Wear A Mask'

"I did it for seven months... and I stayed healthy," said Christie. "I didn't do it for four days and I wound up in the ICU... I want to be unequivocal and also admit that I let my guard down."

Health experts say letting your guard down is a troubling trend.

"When you look around, and see other people have let their guard down, possibly you assume that it's time to just let yours down as well," said Corey Bush, a professor of public health at William Paterson University.


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