Six babies are said to have been infected with infant herpes in New York City since Mayor Bill de Blasio cut a deal with the Hasidic community that continues to allow ritual circumcisers mouth-to-genital contact.
The news emerged Thursday after a newborn was rushed to the hospital two weeks after undergoing the procedure, known as metzitzah b’peh, in which the mohel sucks the blood out of the circumcision wound using his mouth.
The Health Department under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg cracked down on the practice due to hygienic concerns, with his administration requiring parents to sign a waiver before the procedure.
De Blasio, who derives a large base of support from the Hasidic community, rolled back that policy, setting instead for a compromise in which the community was supposed to help test circumcisers from herpes and prevent those infect from oral-genital contact with infants.
6 More New York Babies Get Herpes After Undergoing Circumcision Rite
Daniel J. Solomon is the former Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.