A New York state judge is under fire this week for putting the public health at major risk by placing a hold on a ban instituted by Rockland County to combat a major measles epidemic.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that there are currently 387 confirmed cases of measles across the country, many of them occurring in Rockland County in New York.
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According to the CDC:
At the end of September 2018, an international traveler arrived in Rockland County with a suspected case of the measles. Per protocol, the Rockland County Department of Health (RCDOH) was notified and immediately activated its Communicable Disease Team to investigate. There have been additional cases of measles from international travelers to Rockland, exposing more people to measles. People who are unvaccinated risk getting infected with measles and spreading it to others.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Fox News last week that unvaccinated people who traveled to Israel contracted the virus from Orthodox Jews who do not believe in vaccinations.
As a precaution, county officials declared an emergency and barred unvaccinated children from being in public places such as schools, churches, parks and restaurants to prevent other children from becoming infected. The move not only serves as a protective measure it gives parents incentive to vaccinate their kids.
The ban was working as 17,000 MMR vaccines had been administered up to now. But Judge Rolf Thorsen temporarily blocked the ban on Friday after anti-vaxxers filed a lawsuit.
“And petitioners’ children are hereby permitted to return to their respective schools forthwith and otherwise to assemble in public places,” Thorsen ruled, effectively guaranteeing that more children will be at risk of contracting the highly contagious and deadly virus that had been eradicated by the year 2000 before the anti-vaxxer movement brought it back to our shores.
“The county is disappointed that the court did not see this measles outbreak, unprecedented in scope over the past 30 years, as a crisis sufficient to warrant the need for a declaration of a state of emergency,” County Attorney Thomas E. Humbach said.
“It is my view that waiting for a medical catastrophe is ill advised, particularly given the fact that we can see it coming,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day said.
Indeed, public officials and medical experts know the measles epidemic is a crisis that is only going to get worse the longer they are forced to wait before they are able to act.
A single judge should not be able to put children’s lives at risk in this way. If anti-vaxxers don’t want to vaccinate their kids they should have to pay the consequences for their irresponsibility. Other kids certainly should not have to pay the price for it.
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