New York City declares MORE measles cases as officials close two more schools and subpoena 57 more people for refusing vaccinations
- Now 423 people in New York City have contracted measles
- 82% of the cases are in the 4 ZIP codes currently mandated to vaccine every adult and child under a ‘state of emergency’
- Officials have issued court summonses to 57 people in those 4 ZIP codes who have refused to vaccinate
- Nationally, there are 704 measles cases, driven largely by New York’s outbreak
Thirty-three more New Yorkers have contracted measles, bringing the total number of cases in this outbreak to 423, health officials confirmed on Monday.
As the caseload rises, officials are continuing to punish those who refuse vaccination – with two more school closures and 57 citizens subpoenaed in Brooklyn this week.
The vast majority (348 cases, or 82 percent) of the city’s measles cases are in four ZIP codes in Brooklyn, where vaccine skepticism is rife in the large and tight-knit Orthodox Jewish community.
In a bid to control the outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio has temporarily abolished religious and philosophical exemptions for vaccines in those four ZIP codes – and anyone who flouts the rules faces a $1,000 fine. If they miss their day in court, the fine bumps up to $2,000.
The vast majority (82 percent) of the city’s measles cases are in four ZIP codes in Brooklyn, where vaccine skepticism is rife in the large and tight-knit Orthodox Jewish community
The two schools closed today had failed to exclude unvaccinated children from the grounds.
Since the state of emergency was declared on April 9, New York City officials have closed seven schools, including the two shuttered today, but the first five have been allowed to re-open.
‘Schools that continue to disregard our direction during the outbreak will be closed down until they can prove to the Health Department that they will comply,’ said Health Commissioner Dr Oxiris Barbot.
‘The reality is, the longer it takes schools and individuals to comply with our Order, the longer this outbreak will continue.’
The 57 people issued court summonses all live within the four ZIP codes under the state of emergency.
The city’s fight against measles, targeting the Orthodox Jewish community, has been controversial, with many accusing officials of discrimination, and fanning anti-Semitic sentiments.
Some families have reported being the subject of anti-Semitic abuse in the street, and seeing people cover their faces as they walk by.
In its measles update today, the Department of Health labored the point that measles has taken hold of this community, saying that only seven of the 423 people diagnosed since October do not identify as Orthodox Jewish, and only one case has no connection to the Orthodox Jewish community at all.
Outside of Williamsburg, Borough Park in south Brooklyn has the highest caseload, with 63 cases.
The other cases are dotted around Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx – areas which have not been mandated to vaccinate all adults and children, and do not face fines.