State of emergency in this New York county for measles: unvaccinated children will not be able to go to public places
Rockland County is a small county 20 kilometers northwest of New York City and has been in a state of emergency since midnight Tuesday. The reason? New York State's largest measles outbreak in decades. An outbreak that takes months without being able to control.
With a population of 300,000 and 153 cases of measles in recent months and 48 so far this year alone, County officials have banned unvaccinated minors from accessing public places.
"We cannot allow this outbreak to continue indefinitely."
What do we know about the outbreak? In what appears to be a global epidemic, the outbreak began in the fall of last year, but was limited to the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City and County. But already in December the disease (one of the most contagious of which we lived together) began to affect more and more people and threatened to get out of control.
Last resort The county began the year by removing about 6,000 unvaccinated children from schools and, in recent months, has launched a major public health campaign among officials, doctors and rabbis. They also administered more than 17,000 vaccines to improve immunization rates. But none of that worked: that's when it was decided to declare a state of emergency.
Again, measles. "We cannot allow this outbreak to continue indefinitely or to worsen again. We will not sit around while the children in our community are at risk," they explained from the County. The measure, which includes up to 6 months in prison and fines of more than 500 dollars to parents who break the ban, highlights the difficulty that health authorities have to combat this type of outbreak.
It is the first time that a North American administration has implemented measures of this magnitude and, for this very reason, it draws a bleak future insofar as we are unable to put an end to anti-vaccine movements and healthcare inequality. It's amazing how quickly we forget how fragile the world we live in is.