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NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - New York City contact tracers have been busy tracking down people infected with the Wuhan virus in the aftermath of the destruction, but they have been ordered not to ask anyone who tests positive whether they attended recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests.
Spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio Avery Cohen confirmed that directive, saying, "No person will be asked proactively if they attended a protest," she told reporters at THE CITY, a nonprofit digital platform, explaining, "If a person wants to proactively offer that information, there is an opportunity for them to do so."
According to Cohen, the tracers are instructed to ask general questions of those testing positive that help them "recall 'contacts' and individuals they may have exposed."
But many are criticizing the mayor for what they see as a pronounced double standard in his treatment of BLM protestors and looters and everyday, law-abiding citizens trying to negotiate draconian lockdown measures.
They note that he has been tweeting: "Social distancing can save lives. Do your part, New York City," but notice that social distancing guidelines are being unfairly applied.
Some are taking action.
For example, Catholic priests and Jewish congregants are suing the mayor, along with his attorney general Letitia James, for allegedly using Wuhan virus restrictions to single out people of faith.
The lawsuit filed on June 10 asserts these leaders used a "blatant double standard" when implementing the pandemic-related restrictions.
A lawyer for the Thomas More Society, which is representing the plaintiffs, asked, "Why is a large worship gathering deemed more dangerous than a mass protest, full of shouting, arm-waving people in close proximity to one another?"
"It is time to end New York's experiment in absolute monarchy," the lawyer said. "We are asking the court to put an end to these unconstitutional executive orders and their prejudicial enforcement."
New Yorkers are also pushing back with an impeach de Blasio petition, that gained momentum recently as the mayor praised the police force for exercising restraint in handling BLM protestors and looters.
The petition reads:
Mayor Bill de Blasio is destroying New York City. We cannot have him continue as mayor for the next two years. The people of NY want change, and now is the time to act before it becomes any worse. This is not about being conservative, left, etc. This is about "radical" politics that are harming the city and being neglectful of New Yorkers.
To date, 136,474 have signed the petition.
But de Blasio justifies his double standard, arguing at a June 2 press conference that "400 years of American racism ... is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services."
The city council's health committee chairman, Mark Levine, echoed the mayor's rationale saying, "Let's be clear about something: If there is a spike in coronavirus cases in the next two weeks [i.e., post-protests], don't blame the protestors. Blame racism."
But de Blasio is not the only Democrat demonstrating double standards.
Florida Democrat representative and Biden vice-presidential hopeful Val Demings participated in a massive "Healing and Hope" rally recently, where people "were packed in like sardines." She said she was there "to speak with our community as America grieves."
But after President Trump announced he will return to the campaign trail, she said: "The president's plan to hold mass rallies in Florida and elsewhere as we experience a resurgence in COVID cases is irresponsible and selfish."
Senator Bernie Sanders railed against President Trump's potential GOP convention in Florida, applying one standard for protestors and one for Trump supporters.
Sanders tweeted on June 15, "Congratulations to all who are out on the streets today peacefully protesting. Together, we will end police brutality."
And later he tweeted, "Trump wants 15,000 delegates cheering him at him," adding, "No social distancing. His rejection of medical advice endangers not only those there but those they come in contact with. Trump's a threat to the health and well-being of the country. He must be defeated."
Mayor de Blasio announced his "comprehensive plan to test, trace and treat every case of COVID-19" on May 8. To implement the plan, he ordered New York City to hire a corps of 1,000 contact tracers to "investigate cases, trace and monitor contacts and manage all case data and inquiries."
According to the city's official website, criteria for being hired included "an understanding of racism and its impact on underrepresented communities" as well as public health experience.