Brawl in the family!
Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo hit back Thursday at a fellow Richmond County Republican, Councilman Joe Borelli, over his mockery of new state coronavirus restrictions, igniting a Thanksgiving feud just two weeks out from the holiday.
The retort — delivered during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily briefing — came hours after Borelli tweeted that he would ignore new state rules limiting gatherings in homes to just 10 people over the holidays and questioned the severity of the rise in coronavirus cases across the city and state.
“You have to live your values, and to me, over the last eight months, in this hyper-opinionated age, my North Star is science,” Oddo said to the cameras — and his fellow Republican — during Hizzoner’s press conference.
“I feel comfortable in living true to those values and that means avoiding gatherings inside when you can,” he added. “On this one, we disagree, big time.”
Oddo’s rebuke also carried a personal note as the longtime Staten Island pol recounted how he was forced to stand outside his childhood home to speak to his mother, who remained inside, during the early weeks of the pandemic.
“I spoke to her from outside, standing on the hill on Old Town Road — she’s talking to me through a window and I’m screaming at her. I can’t hear, she can’t hear. But that’s the steps we took,” he added.
After Oddo’s mother fell and broke her hip, he said he came to the house everyday to care for her, but always in a mask.
“I will not be spending Thanksgiving — my brothers will not be coming in and sitting around the same table,” he added.
Oddo joined de Blasio a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he was imposing ‘yellow zone’ coronavirus restrictions across much of Staten Island in a first attempt to battle back a surge in coronavirus cases there. The governor also imposed a new 10-person limit on gatherings in residences and ordered restaurants and bars to end both indoor and outdoor service by 10 p.m.
Just after Cuomo’s announcement, Borelli mocked the new rules: “I’ll be having more than 10 ppl at my house on Thanksgiving. My address is public record. Some family will come from (gasp!) New Jersey,” Borelli wrote. “Kids will see their grandparents, cousins will play in the yard, sis in law will bring strawberry rhubarb pie, & a turkey will be overcooked.”
The usually verbose de Blasio — who has never been popular on Staten Island — left much of the commentary about Borelli to Oddo, but chimed in to add that he, too, will not be seeing his family for the holidays.
“Everyone’s feeling a lot about this situation and it’s so frustrating and it’s painful,” Hizzoner told the cameras. “I’m going to be missing some of the people I’m closest to in the world for these holidays. I hate it, but I also know it has to be done to protect everyone.”
The bipartisan pair made the remarks as the latest batch of data from the city’s Health Department again offered new evidence of a coronavirus comeback in the Big Apple.
Over the last seven days, 2.6 percent of COVID-19 tests have come back positive. That’s the highest level since June when testing was far less widespread and nearing de Blasio’s 3 percent threshold for moving public schools back from indoor learning to all-remote instruction.
And the number of daily new cases continued to surge, hitting 870, well above the city’s warning threshold of 550.
Across New York State, the overall positivity rate remained 2.95 percent overall — and remains above 2.5 percent even when excluding COVID-19 hotspots across the state, a worrying sign of potentially wider spread of the disease.