After having 153 diagnosed cases of Measles since October, Rockland County in the state of New York has declared a state of emergency and banned unvaccinated minors from being in some public areas.
According to USA Today:
Starting at midnight, anyone who is under 18 and not vaccinated against measles will be banned from public places. This ban will last until the declaration expires in 30 days or until people are vaccinated.
Places covered under the ban include shopping centers, restaurants, schools and places of worship. Outdoor gathering places are not included.
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The local government will also be posting signs to advise the public of bans in certain areas.
And of course, because religion poisons everything, religion is tangentially involved here.
Although Rockland’s outbreak has primarily affected members of the Orthodox Jewish community, Rockland County Executive Ed Day said there’s no religious exemption.
The county executive said the timing was meant to coincide with family gatherings during the upcoming holidays of Passover and Easter.
Noncompliance will carry penalties of six months in jail or a $500 fine, although Day said law enforcement would not be deployed at any location seeking proof of vaccination.
I guess it’s one of those “honor system” things. And since we all know how intellectually honest anti-vaxxers are, I’m sure they’ll avoid these public areas and turn themselves into law enforcement if they violate the order.
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Like I’ve said countless times before, Measles is a serious disease because of how contagious it is. Yes, a normal, healthy adult who gets Measles will probably be fine. Sometimes, they might need to stay in a hospital for a few days (like an anti-vax politician recently did), but they’ll be okay.
No, the concern here lies with babies who aren’t yet old enough to be vaccinated. The concern is also for those who are immunocompromised – those whose immune systems aren’t working like a normal, healthy adult’s should. This includes those with autoimmune diseases and those who are receiving chemotherapy for cancer. Their immune systems aren’t normal or healthy. Many of these people aren’t able to be vaccinated because of their condition. Instead, they rely on herd immunity – people like you and me – to be vaccinated to protect them. Otherwise, we turn into carriers for the disease who circulate it in the population, putting them at risk of getting sick.
So even if you think you’re too tough to get the flu, or that Measles is “just a common childhood disease,” think about others that you might be impacting with your personal decision. Because it’s about more than just you.
Cover image via USA Today