Measles was eliminated in the United States in 2000, and we have totally, totally screwed it up
Starting at midnight tonight, no one under the age of 18 who is not vaccinated for the measles is allowed to be in public areas in Rockland County, New York, for the next 30 days. The declaration, along with a state of emergency, comes after 153 confirmed cases of the measles in the area, mostly among non-vaccinated children.
“We will not sit idly by while children in our community are at risk,” County Executive Ed Day said in a press conference today. “This is a public health crisis and it’s time we sound the alarm.”
The measles outbreak was set off by seven visitors from overseas with the disease who spent time in the area within the last nine months. But it was caused by the high number of unvaccinated children in the community, which is located about 40 miles north of New York City, and which has a large Orthodox Jewish population with low vaccination rates.
Health officials have declared that to stop the spread of the dangerous, deadly, and highly contagious disease, minors who have not been vaccinated will be required to stay away from public areas, which include schools, businesses, shops, restaurants, or places of worship. They can avoid the ban if they get their shots, which are being offered for free in an attempt to raise vaccine percentages to herd immunity levels.
Those with medical exemptions are also exempted from the public spaces ban, though some are staying away from dangerous areas for their own health.
Day admitted that law enforcement would not be walking the streets and checking people’s immunization records – but that they would be prosecuting parents who are found in violation and charging them with a Class B misdemeanor.
This is the 26th week of the outbreak, and officials are determined to stop it – and to prevent future issues with the medical condition that kills millions of people worldwide each year, mostly young children. In December, the county banned about 50 kids who were not vaccinated from attending school in an effort to stop the spread of disease and save lives.
Orthodox rabbis are urging their congregations to get their families vaccinated, eliminating any needs of religious exemptions. At the same time, the Health Department is offering free shots to anyone who wants and needs one. They are also urging the public to call ahead to the doctor if they’re bringing in someone who might possibly be suffering from the measles, so that the office can prepare for someone contagious to visit.
Measles was declared eliminated in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control (CC) in 2000, thanks to a strong immunization program – and there were only been handfuls of cases and very small outbreaks, brought in by people visiting from other countries, for several years. But now, annual cases have grown into the hundreds and multiple large outbreaks are being reported, including one last month in Washington State.
The outbreaks spread in large part due to the anti-vax movement, in which people have been convinced, often via online social media platforms, that vaccines can cause an array of medical conditions and health issues, even though that has been proven false again and again and again. Just in the last year, measles cases have doubled worldwide and in 2019, over 300 cases have been confirmed in the United States already.
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