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."
- New York tackles 'largest measles outbreak' in recent history - CNN ›
- Measles outbreak spreads in New York City's Orthodox Jewish ... ›
- New York Confronts Its Worst Measles Outbreak in Decades - The ... ›
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
A new Gallup polls shows the rising support for socialism in the United States.
- Socialism is experiencing a boom in support among Americans.
- 43% of Americans now view socialism as "a good thing".
- There are also more people (51%) against socialism as political stances hardened.
A new study shows that some men's reaction to sex is not what you'd expect, resulting in a condition previously observed in women.
Is this proof of a dramatic shift?
- Map details dramatic shift from CNN to Fox News over 10-year period
- Does it show the triumph of "fake news" — or, rather, its defeat?
- A closer look at the map's legend allows for more complex analyses
Dramatic and misleading
Image: Reddit / SICResearch
The situation today: CNN pushed back to the edges of the country.
Over the course of no more than a decade, America has radically switched favorites when it comes to cable news networks. As this sequence of maps showing TMAs (Television Market Areas) suggests, CNN is out, Fox News is in.
The maps are certainly dramatic, but also a bit misleading. They nevertheless provide some insight into the state of journalism and the public's attitudes toward the press in the US.
Let's zoom in:
- It's 2008, on the eve of the Obama Era. CNN (blue) dominates the cable news landscape across America. Fox News (red) is an upstart (°1996) with a few regional bastions in the South.
- By 2010, Fox News has broken out of its southern heartland, colonizing markets in the Midwest and the Northwest — and even northern Maine and southern Alaska.
- Two years later, Fox News has lost those two outliers, but has filled up in the middle: it now boasts two large, contiguous blocks in the southeast and northwest, almost touching.
- In 2014, Fox News seems past its prime. The northwestern block has shrunk, the southeastern one has fragmented.
- Energised by Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, Fox News is back with a vengeance. Not only have Maine and Alaska gone from entirely blue to entirely red, so has most of the rest of the U.S. Fox News has plugged the Nebraska Gap: it's no longer possible to walk from coast to coast across CNN territory.
- By 2018, the fortunes from a decade earlier have almost reversed. Fox News rules the roost. CNN clings on to the Pacific Coast, New Mexico, Minnesota and parts of the Northeast — plus a smattering of metropolitan areas in the South and Midwest.
Image source: Reddit / SICResearch
This sequence of maps, showing America turning from blue to red, elicited strong reactions on the Reddit forum where it was published last week. For some, the takeover by Fox News illustrates the demise of all that's good and fair about news journalism. Among the comments?
- "The end is near."
- "The idiocracy grows."
- "(It's) like a spreading disease."
- "One of the more frightening maps I've seen."
- "LOL that's what happens when you're fake news!"
- "CNN went down the toilet on quality."
- "A Minecraft YouTuber could beat CNN's numbers."
- "CNN has become more like a high-school production of a news show."
Not a few find fault with both channels, even if not always to the same degree:
- "That anybody considers either of those networks good news sources is troubling."
- "Both leave you understanding less rather than more."
- "This is what happens when you spout bullsh-- for two years straight. People find an alternative — even if it's just different bullsh--."
- "CNN is sh-- but it's nowhere close to the outright bullsh-- and baseless propaganda Fox News spews."
"Old people learning to Google"
Image: Google Trends
CNN vs. Fox News search terms (200!-2018)
But what do the maps actually show? Created by SICResearch, they do show a huge evolution, but not of both cable news networks' audience size (i.e. Nielsen ratings). The dramatic shift is one in Google search trends. In other words, it shows how often people type in "CNN" or "Fox News" when surfing the web. And that does not necessarily reflect the relative popularity of both networks. As some commenters suggest:
- "I can't remember the last time that I've searched for a news channel on Google. Is it really that difficult for people to type 'cnn.com'?"
- "More than anything else, these maps show smart phone proliferation (among older people) more than anything else."
- "This is a map of how old people and rural areas have learned to use Google in the last decade."
- "This is basically a map of people who don't understand how the internet works, and it's no surprise that it leans conservative."
A visual image as strong as this map sequence looks designed to elicit a vehement response — and its lack of context offers viewers little new information to challenge their preconceptions. Like the news itself, cartography pretends to be objective, but always has an agenda of its own, even if just by the selection of its topics.
The trick is not to despair of maps (or news) but to get a good sense of the parameters that are in play. And, as is often the case (with both maps and news), what's left out is at least as significant as what's actually shown.
One important point: while Fox News is the sole major purveyor of news and opinion with a conservative/right-wing slant, CNN has more competition in the center/left part of the spectrum, notably from MSNBC.
Another: the average age of cable news viewers — whether they watch CNN or Fox News — is in the mid-60s. As a result of a shift in generational habits, TV viewing is down across the board. Younger people are more comfortable with a "cafeteria" approach to their news menu, selecting alternative and online sources for their information.
It should also be noted, however, that Fox News, according to Harvard's Nieman Lab, dominates Facebook when it comes to engagement among news outlets.
CNN, Fox and MSNBC
Image: Google Trends
CNN vs. Fox (without the 'News'; may include searches for actual foxes). See MSNBC (in yellow) for comparison
For the record, here are the Nielsen ratings for average daily viewer total for the three main cable news networks, for 2018 (compared to 2017):
- Fox News: 1,425,000 (-5%)
- MSNBC: 994,000 (+12%)
- CNN: 706,000 (-9%)
And according to this recent overview, the top 50 of the most popular websites in the U.S. includes cnn.com in 28th place, and foxnews.com in... 27th place.The top 5, in descending order, consists of google.com, youtube.com, facebook.com, amazon.com and yahoo.com — the latter being the highest-placed website in the News and Media category.
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