Rockland declares state of emergency for measles; Prohibition of unplanned minors from schools, prayer houses, shopping malls
John Meore, [email protected]
Rockland County's senior Ed Day was on the podium in the Room Room Standing Room on March 26, touching three thirds of the political discourse on anti-Semitism calls, howls of anti-vaccination groups and rebuff of civil rights activists.
Day declared Rockland's six-month measles outbreak a state of emergency, with unvaccinated adolescents under the age of 18 excluded from public places for 30 days. Public places are schools, places of worship, shopping centers and restaurants. Parks and outdoor areas are not included.
Persons with medical exceptions are not included in the ban.
► MEASLES OUTBREAK: Read the latest news from our team  ► TIMELINE: How Rockland and New Jersey arrived at this time
Ed Day of the district announces an update on the implications of the declaration of state of emergency in New City on Friday, March 29, 2019. [Photo: John Meore / The Journal News]
The declaration, which took effect on March 27 at midnight, quickly became an international story, triggering a debate that reconciles religion, public health, and government action , Day said he saw the statement as the only tool he could use to reverse the disturbing trajectory of the measles outbreak, which could significantly improve with the upcoming Passover and Easter holidays.
MMR to MMR
By urging parents to have their children Get the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella – and hold them accountable if they do not – Day has done it to achieve a different kind of MMR: massive media response.
Since placing the order, Day has been interviewed by television crews from New Zealand and Italy, from the New York Times and NPR, CNN and Fox News. At a second press conference held on Friday with Commissioner for Health Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, one of the questions was asked by a journalist who looked from Italy to Facebook.
Day said this as he prepared for the emergency call. He knew that he would do something risky. He would soon find out how risky it was. It would entail "hideous, disgusting" comments from critics in the anti-vaccine movement.
Whether this risk will reward the day demanded by the flood of measles is an open question that could be answered in the following weeks Passover, which begins on April 19th and ends on April 27th.
A highly contagious virus
According to Centers for Disease and Prevention, "Measles are a highly contagious virus that lives in the nasopharyngeal mucus of an infected person."
The virus may be transmitted through the air or through contact spread with infected surfaces touching. It can live for up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed, and on surfaces that had touched them.
The virus is so contagious, the CDC says, "If a person has it, up to 90 percent of those in the vicinity of that person who are not immune will also be infected."
A "Moderate" State Emergency
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Critics have called the emergency declaration draconian. Day still called it "moderate".
"Draconian would have forbidden anyone," he said. "Draconianer quarantined people, we do not do that."
Others wondered how it could be possible. Would people be arrested?
Day said he had spoken with Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Gilleece.
"He said he would take a moderate stance," said Day. "This effort should not be aimed at what we do. It's legal to do that, which means arresting people, we do not want to do that, it's really instructive, but with a steady stroke of the pen, you do something what has never been done. "
The order holds parents, not children, accountable. The misdemeanor – to take an unvaccinated child to a public place – is an offense punishable by six months in prison and / or a fine of US $ 500.
The district government resists the suggestion that the order is a kind of bourgeois hammer. Service announcement that it has the force of the law, but not the will of law enforcement to execute it, that it has no teeth.
"The teeth are there, we are not biting," he said. "We'll show you our teeth, we do not want to bite anyone, we just want you to obey the law."
The law requires people to immunize their children when they go to school. The problem, he said, is that some districts were "laid back," which allowed exceptions for people who would not get vaccinated for reasons other than medical or religious reasons.
Within minutes of the press conference Tuesday, which announced the state of emergency, the story became viral and attracted social media commentators from near and far, who had not renounced the vitriol.
They refer to images of stormtroopers, of people who were asked to show their papers, of forced vaccines. They said the County Executive would quarantine the Orthodox Jewish community of Rockland, where the outbreak began last fall.
This kind of misinterpretation, according to Day, was the risk.
But the reward, he said, was that with the only instrument he felt he had to raise awareness, he had the feeling he had a further rise in the outbreak, which is now the largest in the world USA has been since the disease was eradicated in 2000.
"I think at this point," We had to do something to better support the health department and to do it in the most moderate manner possible, "said Day." It's an eye-catcher. It is not a question. And that's exactly what we're doing. "
For six months, Rockland has been struggling with a stubborn measles outbreak that shows no sign of decline, with 157 measles cases (and counts) in the county by more than 325,000 people since September
Four new cases have been confirmed since the ban came in. Day said the "trajectory" of the outbreak prompted him to act.
In September, on the Jewish Saints' Day of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, seven international ones were dissolved Travelers with the measles erupt in the close orthodox orthodoxy of Jewish and Hasidic communities on New Square, where large, extended families share homes and prayer houses in the immediate vicinity.
In Orthodox Jewish communities in the Ocean and Passaic landscapes of New Jersey and There were minor measles outbreaks in Brooklyn.
Throughout the outbreak Day and his health met Together with rabbis and elected leaders of Orthodox and Hasidic communities, they called on them to vaccinate their followers. On the morning of the announcement Day reunited with leaders of the Orthodox community.
Day described their collaboration as "commendable," citing the 17,400 MMR vaccines administered since October, most of them in the affected community, at the Spring Valley Refuah Health Center.
500 vaccines were administered in the first two days of the Emergency Ordinance, Ruppert reported.
Dr. William Greenberg, a pediatrician and medical director of Jawonio New City – a regional center focused on the needs of children, adults and families with intellectual and developmental needs and chronic medical needs, praised Day's statement.
"Contrary to popular nostalgia, measles can be more of a nuisance in childhood," Greenberg said. "It carries the risk of higher morbidity and mortality, especially for children with chronic disabilities, and the medical community and all civil servants must speak with a voice that is free of dogma and agenda to ensure that our most vulnerable Citizens affected are fully educated against preventable diseases. "
Marcia Issacson, 89, of New City, does not need the district head or a doctor to tell her to take measles seriously, she lived it.  "The attitude of most people is something like 'Oh, it's something that kids get,' but measles are very serious," said Isaacson. "I was 14 in the Bronx when I got it, Easter. It was my birthday and I had a fever of 106 degrees. It is not easy to take.
Another Petri Dish & # 39;
Day said he had scheduled his order ahead of the upcoming Passover and Easter break. The next time family and friends travel there will be here and Israel. If the community is vaccinated, he said, even with the first of the two required MMR doses, the county is protected.
"It will be less likely that we will repeat in the fall." We donate We do not want to have a situation where we make another Petri dish, this was the last time it was an unfortunate confluence of events seven unvaccinated infected people come here. "
Day said the position of the Jewish religion over vaccination is being decided.
The nonprofit Jewish Federation and Rockland County Foundation has supported Facebook in depositing the Day Declaration.
"There is no reason not to get vaccinated. (Except for certain medical conditions.") Read post "There is extensive rabbinic support for the vaccine." The Federation supports the county health authorities in coping with the situation. "
The post also stated, "Unfortunately, some use the emergency declaration as an excuse for their bigotry, and Rockland must be united to tackle a very real health crisis and keep it alive among the healthiest and best places."
The 1,600 comments on The post of the Federation became overwhelming and caused them to close the comment function.
top overreach "
Day knew that there would be opposition, but he was afraid of something worse, in a district where friction between the Orthodox Orthodox Jewish community and the rest of the county is always a consideration ,
"Background and how It's hard to try to keep things quiet, you'd think that would exaggerate them," he said. He feared that most of the comments would be anti-Semitic.
What he could not have guessed was the way the story went on in social media commentary, and how one of those talks about the third one overshadowed another. 19659005] The order would have triggered a blow to anti-Semitic rhetoric.
"In an unusual way, the anti-Vaxxers have helped prevent this from happening," he said. "Because the anti-Vaxxer became the focal point, not the religious community, all the talks were about the Anti-Vaxxer with the people here, most anti-Vaxxer people are not from Rockland County, there's a back and forth between people here in Rockland, who by and large support what I'm trying to do and the others who do not. "
It became another" we "versus another" you. "
"In a strange way, the good Lord mysteriously works," said Day, a Roman Catholic. Day and his orders were estimated by members of the anti-vaccine community, a handful of which had a tiny organ, a short-lived protest at the Palisades Center, one of the public places affected by the ban. They brought no children.
"This is an exaggerated reach," said Rita Palma of Bayport, Long Island, a lobbyist who founded an organization called "My Kids, My Choice" and wore a T-shirt reading #vaxwoke and #mychoice. She was one of the ten protesters who gathered near the shopping center carousel.
The 67-year-old, belligerent government official has backed down and described Facebook comments from anti-vaccination advocates as "abominable and repugnant". Some compared his arrangement with the actions of Adolf Hitler.
"This language – the Hitler stuff – was anti-Vaxxer, it was not from the orthodox community," he said.
At the rally, demonstrator Stephanie Mahairas, identified as Christian, wore a rucksack with the Star of David on the back with the words "No Vax" on it.
"This is a strategic attack on religion," she said. "The first step is the fear of the Jews. The second step is violence. The last step is the gas chamber. "
Schools and Shots
The Ordnungsbarren of the day changed the students from attending school, unless they have a medical exemption.
First Day of Prohibition Communication with BOCES Director Scott Salotto reported that in every public school district of Rockland, 11 to 50 children were absent as a result of the ban.
Day on Thursday said he had asked his health department to "drill down" to find out how soon a newly vaccinated student could return to the classroom.
"We've heard four (days), we've heard 21, we have 30," said Day. "I said," We need an answer here because we have people in the school. "If they can go to school the next day, we'd better do that, let them go to the doctors, get the shot and go to school, and they can, the next day."
But the CDC disagrees.
On Friday, Benjamin Hayes, a senior press spokesperson for the CDC-Infectious Disease Media team, was asked how long a student should wait before returning to school.
"It takes three weeks until the shot takes effect, "he said.
A Right to Protection
" I've been expecting family frustration, "said Day." Nobody wants to be told what to do. I understand that. "
But Day says inactivity is not an option.
" I will not wait until someone gets sick or dies or complications get out, which will happen, "said Day. "If I have infected people who go to shops in the Palisades Center mall or in other parts of the district, they will expose others."
"We have babies out there, my grandson," he said. "We have pregnant women out there, we have people who have autoimmune diseases, and they have the right to drive around, where they are protected from an underlying disease that was eradicated 19 years ago."
Post: Rochel Leah Goldblatt, Steve Lieberman, Robert Brum, Aisha Powell 
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