Coronavirus Outbreak Leading To Spread Of Hate Speech In Westchester

Mack Rosenberg
March 12, 2020 - 7:24 pm

Amir Levy/Getty Images

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — The coronavirus outbreak has led to the spread of hate speech in Westchester.

“When people are in crisis, they tend to start acting out,” said Westchester District Attorney Anthony Scarpino.

He told WCBS 880’s Mack Rosenberg on Thursday that two hateful emails were sent to people in Westchester County, where the coronavirus is most widespread.

One of the emails was send to a person who tested positive for the virus and the other was to a store owner. Both of them reside in New Rochelle, where the National Guard has been deployed to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

“They tended to blame the people with anti-Semitic type of language. They did not appear to be appear necessarily threatening. But we have to take a look at that,” Scarpino said.

The reason, he says, the wording could be considered anti-Semitic is because of the initial association of the coronavirus with the New Rochelle synagogue, Young Israel.

Thankfully, Scarpino says it appears they will be able to catch the person who sent the hateful letters.

“People that use the internet, sometime think they don't leave a footprint but many times they do,” he said.

The District Attorney says the hate speech is not considered widespread right now.

There are over 320 confirmed cases of the virus in New York State. The state, New York City and Suffolk County are currently under a state of emergency to contain the spread of the virus.