New York City makes measles vaccine mandatory following spike in cases
2019 is on track to becoming a record-high year for measles cases in the U.S.
- Residents in parts of New York City will be required to get the measles vaccine or face a fine of $1,000.
- New York City has reported more than 280 measles cases since an outbreak struck an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community last fall.
- Nationally, there have been more than 460 measles cases so far in 2019.
Residents in select parts of New York City will be required to get vaccinated for measles following a spike in reported cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday.
De Blasio declared a public health emergency for select zip codes in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, home to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community with a large concentration of unvaccinated people. Adults and children who choose not to get vaccinated are prohibited from entering schools, and adults could face fines up to $1,000.
"This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately," Mr. de Blasio said at a press conference. "The measles vaccine works. It is safe. It is effective. It is time-tested."
The Brooklyn cases were traced back to an unvaccinated child who contracted measles during a trip to Israel, the Washington Post reports. New York City has reported a total of 285 measles cases since an outbreak struck last fall, the New York Times reports.
Nationally, measles cases rose by 78 last week, raising the total number of 465 measles cases across the country so far in 2019, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. That number already exceeds the 372 cases the country reported for all of 2018, and it's "the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000," CDC officials said Monday.
"The numbers serve as a kick in the butt that says, hey, we probably should start paying attention to vaccination again," Ogbonnaya Omenka, an assistant professor at Butler University who has a doctorate in public health, told USA TODAY. "One of the most challenging aspects of public health is balancing between individual liberty, for people who don't want the vaccine for whatever reason, and what is best for everyone."
A total of 19 states have reported measles cases this year. Federal health officials said these outbreaks likely stemmed from unvaccinated travelers who contracted measles abroad and returned to the U.S. where they inadvertently spread the virus in communities where anti-vaccination sentiment runs strong.
One thing that's obstructing communities nationwide from reaching herd immunity — the level of immunization a population needs to achieve to prevent the spread of the virus — is doctors who liberally prescribe children medical exemptions from vaccination. In California, for instance, children can only attend public schools without vaccinations if they receive a doctor-prescribed medical exemption. But, as a recent Vice report describes, some parents are skirting the law by finding doctors willing to write unnecessary medical exemptions, or hand them out for cash, both of which lead to high shares of unvaccinated kids in schools.
"We cannot allow a small number of unethical physicians to put our children back at risk," said State Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento). "It's time to stop fake medical exemptions and the doctors who are selling them."
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
An extinction events expert sounds a dire warning.
- The supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park could cause an "ultra-catastrophe," warns an extinction events writer.
- The full eruption of the volcano last happened 640,000 years ago.
- The blast could kill billions and make United States uninhabitable.
Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.
I've lived much of my life with anxiety and depression, including the negative feelings – shame and self-doubt – that seduced me into believing the stigma around mental illness: that people knew I wasn't good enough; that they would avoid me because I was different or unstable; and that I had to find a way to make them like me.
A joint study by two England universities explores the link between sex and cognitive function with some surprising differences in male and female outcomes in old age.
- A joint study by the universities of Coventry and Oxford in England has linked sexual activity with higher cognitive abilities in older age.
- The results of this study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men. In women, however, there was a significant association between sexual activity in word recall alone - number sequencing was not impacted.
- The differences in testosterone (the male sex hormone) and oxytocin (a predominantly female hormone) may factor into why the male cognitive level changes much more during sexual activity in older age.
Mathematicians studied 100 billion tweets to help computer algorithms better understand our colloquial digital communication.