News and Commentary

Cases Of Measles In The U.S. Climbs To Highest Level In 25 Years

What’s decades worth of progress and science compared to some dedicated kooks on the internet?

Well, thanks to those kooks, the U.S. has had outbreaks of diseases that are completely preventable by vaccines, including measles. The Associated Press reported:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 695 cases had been reported in 22 states this year as of Wednesday afternoon. That was up from 626 reported Monday and makes this the nation’s worst year for measles since 1994, with eight months still to go in 2019. There were 963 cases in 1994.

Roughly three-quarters of this year’s illnesses in the U.S. have been in New York state, mainly in two ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and suburban Rockland County. Most of those cases have been in unvaccinated people.

While the AP tried to blame the outbreak on Orthodox Jewish communities, Brooklyn officials place the blame mostly on voluntarily unvaccinated children, mostly from upper-class white residents of Brooklyn, The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti previously reported.

The AP reported the number of cases could climb even higher thanks to misinformation and fearmongering about vaccines causing autism. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine has been around since the 1960s, and measles had been essentially wiped out by 2000. But then the claims about the vaccine causing autism started and the disease has come back.

The Associated Press mentions New York State as being the major offender, but there is also an outbreak in Washington State. Back in February, hundreds — hundreds — of people gathered in the state capitol to protest a bill that would have required parents to get their children the MMR vaccination.

“Measles is so contagious that an unvaccinated person has a 90 percent chance of catching the disease if they’re near someone who has it. The virus can survive for up to two hours in a room where an infected person sneezed,” CBS reported at the time.

New York residents have also attempted to protest a requirement for the vaccine, by way of a legal complaint. On Monday, a New York City judge dismissed the complaint, which was filed on behalf of parents who didn’t want to vaccinate their children, Zanotti reported.

New York had issued an emergency order for children in multiple zip codes to get vaccinated to try and stop the spread of the disease. Parents who objected to the order claimed it violated their Constitutional rights but a judge dismissed that argument.

“A fireman need not obtain the informed consent of the owner before extinguishing a house fire. Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion,” the New York City judge wrote.

Constitutional experts told Newsday that sometimes serious health concerns can outweigh certain Constitutional rights.

“There has never been a state [mandatory vaccination] law struck down because of the freedom of religion aspect of the First Amendment,” a law professor told Newsday. “A century of jurisprudence continues to support mandatory vaccines in a variety of contexts.”