New York City Accounted For Two-Thirds Of All U.S. Measles Cases Reported Last Week

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The city has declared a public health emergency and mandated vaccinations for children and adults or risk facing a $1,000 fine.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the unusual order amid what he said was a measles crisis in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section, where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September. Officials blamed the outbreak on “anti-vaxxers” spreading false information.

The order applies to anyone living, working or going to school in four ZIP codes in the neighborhood and requires all unvaccinated people at risk of exposure to the virus to get the vaccine, including children over 6 months old.

The city can’t legally physically force someone to get a vaccination, but officials said people who ignore the order could be fined $1,000. The city said it would help everyone covered by the order get the vaccine if they can’t get it quickly through their regular medical provider.


De Blasio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio and NYC Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said the dramatic move was necessary to halt the potential of spreading the disease ahead of the holidays. Both passover and Easter, when families travel, can help spread measles to those not vaccinated.

“This message today for all New Yorkers is to take measles seriously,” de Blasio said. “The Department of Health will issue violations and fines to people who remain unvaccinated.”

Palacio said she’s troubled by the latest trends.

“There is an organized effort to encourage people to not get vaccinated,” Palacio said.

Barbot and Palacio also warned about parents holding “measles parties” to expose their children to the disease as contributing factors to the outbreak.

“We have also heard reports of people attending so-called measles parties, bringing children together to purposely get exposed to measles,” said Palacio. “As a parent, I have no doubt that each and every parent is making decisions based out of what they believe is best for their children. But as a doctor, a public health practitioner, and a mom, I must warn you that exposing your unvaccinated child to measles is very dangerous, and it could even be deadly.”

MORE: Why Measles Parties Are A Bad Idea For Parents

In 2017, New York City saw two cases of measles. Two years later, the city is approaching 300 confirmed infections.

Web Extra: De Blasio, Palacio, Barbot Accounce New York Health Emergency:

Officials say 285 measles cases have been confirmed in New York City since the beginning of the outbreak, the largest in the city since 1991.

New York City accounted for about two-thirds of all U.S. measles cases reported last week.

The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, said that the majority of religious leaders in Brooklyn’s large Orthodox communities support vaccination efforts, but that rates have remained low in some areas because of resistance from some groups that believe the inoculations are dangerous.

“This outbreak is being fueled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighborhoods. They have been spreading dangerous misinformation based on fake science,” Barbot said. “We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk. We’ve seen a large increase in the number of people vaccinated in these neighborhoods, but as Passover approaches, we need to do all we can to ensure more people get the vaccine.”

The commissioner is empowered by law to issue such orders in cases when they might be necessary to protect against a serious public health threat.

On Monday, New York City officials warned yeshiva schools in Brooklyn that if they allow unvaccinated children to attend, they may be fined or even shut down.

Since the measles outbreak began in October, there have been 285 reported cases in the Orthodox Jewish community — of which 246 cases have been children — and 21 people ended up hospitalized, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported.

Neighborhood officials said the vast majority of Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg are vaccinated, but because the community is so tightly knit, just a small number of anti-vaxers is allowing this outbreak to grow.

“I want to set the record straight. This vaccine is safe. This vaccine not only protects your child but it protects other people’s children,” Palacio said.

New York City ordered yeshivas to ban unvaccinated students in December, but said one in Williamsburg did not comply and has since been linked to more than 40 cases.

“There is no religious exemption on measles,” said Gary Schlesinger, CEO of Parcare Community Health Network. “All rabbis, all prominent rabbis have issued proclamations that everyone should vaccinate.”

(Photo: CBS2)

Schlesinger is trying to reverse false information being spread about the measles vaccine through the Orthodox community.

“They’re spreading this information through hotlines, some publications. I’ve seen some mailings,” Schlesinger said.

City Councilman Stephen Levin represents Williamsburg.

“Every child has to be registered and we can work with the schools to do this,” Levin said.

MORERockland County Officials Searching For Solution To Ongoing Measles Outbreak

In Rockland County, there have been 167 confirmed cases of measles. On Friday, a Supreme Court judge blocked an executive order banning unvaccinated children from public places.

“It’s happening around New York state. It’s only going to spread unless we fix the problems in the system, and the problems are we have way too lax of a requirement,” state Sen. David Carlucci said.

“I’m going to be focusing on this and putting out a bigger plan,” Mayor de Blasio said Monday. “But right now we’re going to have inspectors out. We have clear penalties, clear sanctions.”

Neighborhood officials said it is particularly important for members of this community to get vaccinated now because next week families will be gathering for the start of Passover.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (30)
  1. Tony Maresco says:

    The skyrocketing incidence of vaccine induced auto-immune diseases, Autism (from the neurotoxic aluminum preservative), ADD/ADHD, and cancer is the epidemic needing news coverage, not the mostly harmless measles disease. Let’s not trade one set of epidemics for a far worse set of epidemics. 10x more $$$ is spent combating the skyrocketing incidence of auto-immune diseases than is spent combating cancer, and cancer is a big problem. Measles, not so much.

  2. Mary Brown says:

    According to CDC, MMR is only licensed for 12 months of age & up, Not 6 months…Maybe someone attempting to feel powerful mandating doesn’t know wtf they are talking about and now looks stupid? Maybe. Or did the CDC suddenly change MMRs licensing just to fit this situation??

  3. Cheryl Peeples says:

    94% say it is a family decision. Vaccines are NOT law. They are mandates for school and day care. You cannot force a medical intervention on someone in this country. Even the governor realizes this was not a good idea.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said today that it’s “legally questionable” whether people can be forced to get vaccinated if it violates their religious beliefs. “Look it’s a serious public health concern, but it’s also a serious First Amendment issue and it is going to be a constitutional, legal question,” Cuomo said. “Do we have the right — does society, government have the right to say ‘you must vaccinate your child because I’m afraid your child is going to infect my child, even if you don’t want it done and even if it violates your religious beliefs?’ So that is, that’s an issue that’s going to be legally questionable and I’m sure it’s going to go down that path,” Cuomo added.

  4. Jim Porter says:

    Wonder why the news won’t tell you that they traced to start of the problem back to our fine illegal immigrant coming into the city

  5. Judy Wilson says:

    Contrast this approach with HIV, where the same government goes to extreme lengths to protect the identity of the carriers, and freely allows them back into society to potentially infect others. And if they do infect others …. it is rare that there is any consequence.

    It should be noted that the infection rate for non-drug using, non-man to man sex males is so low that the CDC does not report it.

  6. Bill Loyal says:

    Sounds like a “Keep your laws off my body” moment, OH WAIT, that only works if you want to kill your unborn child. No thanks Mayor, Catch me if you can.. I will get the shot when you agree to pay for any and all after effects from it. Sorry but I had my shots as a kid, I am not playing this game. Back off or be shoved off.

  7. Phil Morris says:

    Looks like another money grab. Here is the BASIC logic. If you believe that vaccines protect you from the disease, why are you afraid of someone that’s unvaccinated? Unless you don’t believe that the vaccine protects you. Then it’s just a policy to grab more money.

  8. Erin K McCostello says:

    Our website just published a blog post about what to do about this over the weekend. If anti-vaccination rhetoric continues this will only become worse.

  9. Laura Condon says:

    Nothing beats the safety and long term effectiveness of naturally acquired immunity. It is unethical to deny natural immunity with dangerous, ineffective, and harmful vaccines.

  10. NYC = Sh!TH0Le

    Nuke it…..twice.

  11. Joe Plascencia says:

    Congress and the Supreme Court have rules that “Vaccines are unavoidably unsafe.”

    I guess people will know who to go talk to too when their child gets injured or worse… right De Blasio, Palacio & Barbot? I hope you’re ready to accept the consequences.

  12. William Christenson says:

    JAPAN BANNED MMR, AMERICANS HEARD NOTHING.. the COVERUP IS OBVIOUS PROOF OF CORRUPTION.. Of the 3,969 medical compensation claims relating to vaccines in the last 30 years, a quarter had been made by those badly affected by the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, they say.

    The triple jab was banned in Japan in 1993 after 1.8 million children had been given two types of MMR and a record number developed non-viral meningitis and other adverse reactions.

  13. Steve Andrews says:

    We are ruled by armed force and by fraud — and this episode is just another reason for Americans to become well-armed and well-ammoed against their rulers — i.e.: to become dangerously unruly. If De Blasio believes that it is his to command and ours to obey, then he should learn otherwise, in a real big way.

  14. Cynthia Maurer says:

    My vaccinated children are no threat to your children if they are vaccinated. Otherwise, what good are vaccines to anyone!
    Measles is no crisis!!!!!

  15. David Petrie says:

    This is extortion, pure and simple. I had measles as an adult. No one panicked; no one died. I had little red spots and went home for three days. To these miscreants, EVERYTHING is a crisis; EVERYTHING will kill you. It’s just a means to take more of your money. Obama’s mandate was illegal, this mandate is illegal. These “physicians” take money from pharmaceutical companies to promote their products. Their only cure is to stick some drug in you.

  16. xsnake ralf says:

    Very unPC.
    Leftists’ll get their panties in a bunch.

  17. Kathy Platt Palmer says:

    The newly vaccinated can shed the live virus for up to 30 days making more outbreaks happen. This has been the same throughout history, even back with the smallpox vaccine. Stop vaccinating and the disease will go away, just stay at home when you are sick. Works every time. I guess these politicians don’t realize that measles used to be a mild childhood disease before a vaccine was made, then it was to be feared and became deadly. There was even a Brady Bunch episode, when has now been pulled from the schedule because it doesn’t not fit the propaganda by Big Pharma.

  18. Malcolm Clark says:

    no one feared measles infection until after the vaccine was invented
    no one feared mumps infection until after the vaccine was invented
    no one feared chicken pox infection until after the vaccine was invented
    there is a pattern – it has a purpose

  19. Brian Costello Sr. says:

    The children that GET the vaccine should be quarantined! They’re spreading the virus through the shedding process. Anyone who gets the vaccine should not go out in public! Also measles is a minor childhood disease and after you have it you are immune for life. ( not like the MMR) Go ahead and have a measles party! Tell this guy to stick his vaccines where the sun don’t shine. this is still America and don’t let this commie tell you how to raise your children! I want to know if this bozo Mayor is up to date on all of his vaccines. I would bet a million dollars that no one at this press conference is fully vaccinated. The vaccine industry is pulling out all the stops to push their useless products.$$$$$$$

  20. Oscar Okeefe says:

    happy to get the vaccine…simply accept my letter of liability. That the govt will accept and pay all damages done by it..simple. AND please show me your authority over a non govt employee to force me to do anything outside the Bill of Rights!! you go ahead and try to fine me..

  21. Bob Thrasher says:

    I can name several “epidemics” of death caused by the medical system that far, far, outstrip the measles hysteria. However, if you vaccinate, don’t do it while sick – the risks are greater!

  22. Kevin Bearly says:

    To bad the people will not resist with guns. They need to shoot anyone who comes to register their children like the Italians did to kill Jesus. This Italian communist needs to be resisted.

  23. Steve Urow says:

    If the vaccine is safe why have people gone to “Vaccine Court” VICP and have won over $4 Billion dollars? Medical experts used to say smoking is recommended for health (1930s-1940s), “DDT is good for Me-e-e” 1940s and 50s), Formula is better than breastfeeding (1950s and 60s), Agent Orange (1960s), Lead in paint (1970s), VACCINES in 1980s and continuing..

  24. Roger Thornburg says:

    Sorry but no Liability Free vaccines for me. I already have an autoimmune disorder from a vaccine I got years ago. Its taken me years to partially recover from the damage as it was so severe, This is a violation of human rights. Also these people are so full of it. More people have complications and die every year from Strep Throat but no one is talking about that because there isn’t a vaccine to profit from. They could just suggest everyone get more vitamin A as that reduces your chances of getting the measles since it is associated with a vitamin A deficiency. Also good job posting the side effects, I think I’ll take my chances with the measles.

  25. Coumo is all worried about the rich leaving? How about the working poor who are smart enough to get out. This state is a mess. Maybe they should get raises for destroying the state.

  26. Margaret Tweet says:

    serious side effects of both MMR-V and MMR include brain damage, coma, chronic seizure disorder, lowered level of consciousness and loss of hearing.4 5
    Serious complications reported by Merck in the ProQuad(MMR-V) product insert during vaccine post-marketing surveillance include6:
    atypical measles;
    vaccine strain varicella;
    varicella-like rash;
    herpes zoster;
    herpes simplex;
    pneumonia and respiratory infection;
    skin infection;
    subacute sclerosing panencephalitis;
    aseptic meningitis;
    aplastic anemia (anemia due to the bone marrow’s inability to produce platelets, red and white blood cells);
    lymphadenitis (inflammation of the lymph nodes);
    anaphylaxis including related symptoms of peripheral, angioneurotic and facial emema;
    ocular palsies;
    necrotizing retinitis (inflammation of the eye);
    nerve deafness;
    optic and retrobulbar neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve);
    Bell’s palsy (sudden but temporary weakness of one half of the face);
    cerebrovascular accident (stroke);
    acute disseminated encephalomyelitis;
    measles inclusion body encephalitis;
    transverse myelitis;
    Guillain-Barré syndrome;
    syncope (fainting);
    febrile seizure;
    afebrile seizures or convulsions;
    polyneuropathy (dysfunction of numerous peripheral nerves of the body);
    Stevens-Johnson syndrome;
    Henoch-Schönlein purpura;
    acute hemorrhagic edema of infancy;
    erythema multiforme;
    A 2014 published study on the MMR-V vaccine in Canada determined that the risk of febrile seizures to be double in children receiving the MMR-V vaccine when compared to those receiving the MMR and varicella vaccines separately.7 A 2015 meta-analysis found a two-fold increase in febrile seizures between 5 and 12 days or 7 and 10 days following MMR-V vaccination in children between the ages of 10 and 24 months.8

  27. Joe Kolb says:

    Of course vacinations should be given, just wondering though, are the sanctuary people also getting the $1000 fine or is it only for citizens?

  28. Sam Katch says:

    Well, get ready folks all those UNVACCINATED Illegas crossing the borders WITHOUT Health checks, they are bringing all kinds of stuff in. So far, Tuberculosis over 900 cases reported in just the 3 months, HIV over 3200 cased reported just since January 1st. Hepatitis A/B/C over 4200 cases; all of which from Illegals (from the US Human Health Services)….so get ready folks we’re about to get really sick….really really sick…and some us are going to die….Welcome to the Land with No Borders….Oh and by the way, OVER 250 busloads of Illegals from Texas and Arizona have been brought into the States of California and New York. Texas and Arizona asked the illegals where they wanted to live…the illegals said ‘Calfornia/ New York’….So the LA Basin got some buses and the Bay Area got some buses and New York City got some buses. AND MORE BUSLOADS ARE ON THEIR WAY….California and New York the new Lands of HIV, HEPATITS, and Tuberculosis. Yea Open Borders!!! You wanted open borders…you’ve got all that comes with it….

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