The mayor revealed that figure as officials said 11 new coronavirus cases had been identified in the state, bringing the total to 22.
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New York families under coronavirus quarantine worry isolation measures aren't strict enough: 'If there are no answers, people make their own decisions'
A 50-year-old lawyer who works at Lewis & Garbuz in midtown Manhattan, has tested positive for...A 50-year-old lawyer who works at Lewis & Garbuz in midtown Manhattan, has tested positive for the coronavirus, along with his wife, two of his children, and a neighbor. Anyone who attended services, a bar- and bat-mitzvah, or a funeral at the man's synagogue earlier this month is required to self-quarantine through March 8th. The man's daughter who tested positive for the coronavirus attends SAR Academy High School in the Bronx. School was canceled on Tuesday and Wednesday, but students and faculty weren't told to self-quarantine until late in the day on Wednesday. An infectious disease specialist told Business Insider that it seems "odd" that there are varying recommendations for self-quarantine. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. When Jessica Zmood's two older children found out on Tuesday morning that school was closed due to a suspected case of coronavirus, they did what any teenagers would do. They jumped on the bed and squealed with excitement. The news couldn't have come on a better day. Ella, who's in ninth grade at SAR Academy High School, a private Jewish school in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and Judah, who's in seventh grade, at SAR's elementary school, both had exams scheduled. The weather on their unexpected day off was also unusually balmy after a long winter slog. But as details of the case started to unfold, their moods got more somber. The man who was diagnosed with the coronavirus, which causes a disease called COVID-19, is a 50-year-old father of four, including one child who attends SAR. He's in serious condition and is intricately tied to the Jewish communities in Riverdale and in New Rochelle, a city in Westchester County where he lives with his family. He also commuted daily to his law firm, Lewis & Garbuz, in midtown Manhattan. The man's wife, 22-year-old son, and 14-year-old daughter also tested positive for the coronavirus, according to reports released on Thursday. To help curb further spread, health officials in New York have implemented mandatory self-quarantines for people who had close contact with those infected, which is about 1,000 people. But families who are under quarantine have questioned how effective these measures are, since in some households — one member might be obligated to stay home, while the others are free to move out and about. "I appreciate the precautions but the playing field simply isn't level," said Tamar Weinberg, a mother of four under quarantine in New Rochelle. "Nor does it really make sense." In some homes, one family member could be quarantined while the rest of the household isn't In the Zmood family, Ella is friends with (and in the same grade as) the 14-year-old who tested positive. But until late in the day on Wednesday, only Judah who was under quarantine. Earlier this month, Judah went to a bar- and bat-mitzvah celebration that the man also attended at the Young Israel of New Rochelle. Anyone who attended that event, services, or a funeral on February 22 or 23 is required to undergo a self-quarantine through March 8th, the synagogue announced on Tuesday. "Now, it seems really crazy," Zmood, a psychologist who practices in Manhattan, told Insider on Wednesday morning. "Because Ella is not quarantined and she probably should be. But Judah is, and he probably should not be." Even though Judah had been at the bar and bat-mitzvah with the infected man, they had not been in close contact, Zmood said. SAR's protocol only changed late in the afternoon on Wednesday. In an email to parents and faculty, the school announced that high school students and staff were required to self-quarantine through Friday. Limiting the spread among households is critical since 75% to 80% of cluster cases of coronavirus occur among families. Only 5 to 15% of an infected person's close friends and contacts develop the disease, Dr. Bruce Aylward, the leader of the WHO team that visited China after the coronavirus outbreak, told The New York Times. Health officials are now trying to retrace the man's steps to get a sense of who is realistically at risk. He marked the second case of coronavirus in New York, but is the first apparent case of community spread. Quarantined families have questions about how effective partial self-isolation is As families closely follow recommendations from health officials, they also wonder whether it makes sense for only one household member to be isolated, which has occurred in multiple instances among the New York families. Even infectious disease experts question the delay in quarantining students and staff at SAR and the rationale behind only quarantining those who attended services at the synagogue in New Rochelle, but not entire households. "That strikes me as odd," said Dr. Richard Martinello, associate professor of internal medicine, pediatrics, and infectious diseases at the Yale School of Medicine. "We do know that being a household member, just from the little experience we've had so far in the US, does seem to be a significant risk factor." The New York State Department of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Many families say they're looking for answers that officials won't offer Parents say the lack of clarity amid a forced self-quarantine has been difficult. "I am more frustrated than stressed," Weinberg told Insider. Weinberg is strictly following protocol and finding ways to occupy her children, who range in age from 3 to 10, while she and her husband work from the house. The entrepreneur said she wants more clarity on the precautions being taken, however. She is concerned about the inconsistencies in the quarantines and school precautions in the area. Doubts around the efficacy of this prolonged quarantine will become more pressing as families face bigger decisions. Many families have trips that were booked months in advance. Monday night marks the start of Purim, the Jewish holiday when children dress up and gather at synagogues. Some families can swing working from home for a brief period of time, but many can't. A boy in the SAR community is celebrating his bar-mitzvah on Saturday night and some of the children under quarantine, who will be free from restrictions about 12 hours later, would like to go. "At some point, you just have to live your life," Zmood told Insider. "We're not going to let this kid have his bar-mitzvah ruined. That's hard, that's not a good situation." A mother in NYC whose husband is under quarantine wasn't told why she shouldn't isolate A mother of two in New York City, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her family's privacy, says she's also frustrated about how the quarantine is being handled, and the lack of information being offered. Her husband — who attended services at the Young Israel of New Rochelle on February 22 — is under quarantine. The couple was eager to find out if anyone else in the home needed to be isolated. The woman called the COVID-19 New York hotline and was transferred to the Department of Health. Nobody picked up the phone. When her husband tried the Department of Health again to find out if he should implement any other restrictions, he was "surprised" to learn that the rest of his family was free to move about. The representative didn't explain why his wife didn't need to isolate herself. Instead, the woman on the phone read from a script on the importance of handwashing, the mother said. The Manhattan mother has implemented some of her own precautionary measures, even though she wasn't instructed to. She's working from home and keeping her 2-year-old home from school, for now. "It's weird that I couldn't get an answer to a basic question that many other people probably have," she told Insider. "If there are no answers, people make their own decisions, which is dangerous." Read more: New York's 2nd coronavirus case — a 50-year-old male attorney — works at a law firm near Grand Central Terminal. His family and a neighbor are now infected. What a coronavirus quarantine was like for a mother and her 5-year-old twins in Taiwan How to talk to your kids about the coronavirus, even if you're feeling anxious Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: The Marvel movies pay incredible attention to the physics of Captain America's shield