Coronavirus by the Forward

As many as 100 shiva attendees exposed to coronavirus in Maryland

One of three residents of Montgomery County, Md. who contracted the coronavirus on a cruise in Egypt attended a Jewish mourning ritual at a retirement community before before getting diagnosed with the disease and exposed between 70 and 100 attendees to it.

In the ritual, known as sitting shiva, family members of the deceased receive condolence calls from family and friends. All three of the cruise passengers had flu-like symptoms on their return from the trip, but at that time the CDC was recommending tests only for people who had been traveling in China, according to the Washington Post. One of them paid a “shiva call” on Feb. 28 at The Village in Rockville, which is in Montgomery County.

The grandson of the man who died said between 70 and 100 people sat shiva with them that day. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said the interactions were “concerning” and that anyone who was at the event should watch for symptoms.

Contact Helen Chernikoff is The Forward’s senior news editor. Contact her at or follower her on Twitter @thesimplechild


Helen Chernikoff

Helen Chernikoff

Helen Chernikoff is the Forward’s News Editor. She came to the Forward from The Jewish Week, where she served as the first web director and created both a blog dedicated to disability issues and a food and wine website. Before that, she covered the housing, lodging and logistics industries for Reuters, where she could sit at her desk and watch her stories move the stock market. Helen has a Master’s of Public Administration from Columbia University and a BA in History and French from Amherst College. She is also a rabbinical school dropout. Contact her at and follow her on Twitter at @thesimplechild.

Maryland shiva callers exposed to coronavirus

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As many as 100 shiva attendees exposed to coronavirus in Maryland

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