Maskless protester shuts down NYC Health Department’s COVID-19 press conference

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A maskless City Council wannabe forced officials to pull the plug on a Health Department press conference Friday when he crashed the briefing, which was supposed to address efforts to combat a new coronavirus outbreak across a half-dozen Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods.

Heshy Tischler, a local community activist, screamed at the head of the city’s public hospital system, Dr. Mitchell Katz, and refused to put on a mask or keep six feet away, despite repeated demands from officials.

“He’s lying! When a man lies, he has to be interrupted! You are a liar,” he yelled. “Your reports are lies. You are lying and I won’t allow lies to be given out.”

“Your numbers today are lies. Go ahead, continue to lie, you piece of garbage,” he continued. “You do not belong here. Why are you making a press conference here? Why isn’t it at City Hall?”

Katz repeatedly yelled at him to put on a mask and to keep his distance but to no avail.

“Move away. You are not six feet away. Put on your mask,” Katz yelled back.

Tischler’s tirade continued unabated as he later screamed at Katz, who is Jewish, to “get the hell out of my community, you filthy animal” and described public hospital and Health Department officials as “violent Nazi stormtroopers.”

Officials were eventually forced to pull the plug on the press conference for safety reasons after just 19 minutes.

Tischler’s insults came just two days after Katz revealed his father-in-law died from the dreaded disease in Israel during a City Hall as he beseeched the Orthodox communities at the epicenter of several new Big Apple COVID-19 outbreaks to take social distancing rules seriously.

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The gadfly ran for the City Council in 2017 and is eying another bid in 2021, according to Hamodia, a local Jewish publication.

City statistics released this week showed that there is a potentially severe outbreak of the coronavirus underway in three adjacent Brooklyn neighborhoods — Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst — that serve as one of the Orthodox community’s cultural hubs, dubbed the Ocean Parkway cluster.

Additionally, the data revealed that there’s been significant jumps in the positive test rate in Williamsburg, another mainstay of Brooklyn’s Orthodox community.

Two other New York City neighborhoods have seen upticks as well, Queens’ Kew Gardens and Far Rockaway.

A slew of news stories has exposed significant violations of shutdown, social distancing and mask guidelines in the city’s Orthodox neighborhoods, even though they were hit hard by the outbreak in the spring.

Non-essential businesses were busted operating behind butcher paper in May at the height of the COVID-19 shutdown. Private religious schools, known as yeshivas, were repeatedly spotted operating, too.

A Post reporter in Midwood this week observed fewer than one-in-five people on the street wearing masks.

In response, City Hall has said it is bolstering its outreach, testing and enforcement efforts in the neighborhoods, including using sound trucks to broadcast messages in Yiddish.

Officials threatened late Thursday to reimpose some lockdown restrictions on the neighborhoods in the outbreak if testing results do not improve by Monday night.

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