How the Measles Outbreak Started


From the New York Times, I'm Michael Barr. This is the daily. Today. The number of measles cases in the US has now risen to nearly seven hundred the highest annual number since the disease was declared eliminated in this country in two thousand many of those cases can be traced to to orthodox Jewish. Katie's in New York. It's funny able to six. And the heart of near city's religious Jewish enclave. Williamsburg Brooklyn around me are men with black hats the sidelocks that traditional payout. Religious garments. And about a block away. There's your Sheba's religious schools synagogues school buses keep passing with Hebrew lettering on the side. Reporter for the New York Times. Holly Jonathan we are here during story on measles. What else everyone's talking about it? So what's your opinion? You've got kids. You've. Vary. I definitely do. And I feel like besides the safety of my children. It's for the safety of the ones with come. From is helps. The anti vaccine community is very lound trying to be very loud. They're trying to have a very strong voice. And it's okay. You know, what everybody can do whatever they want. But don't put us into bad light. Don't represent the entire community and meeting between us. Absolutely. Yes. I went to rocklin. I had a very interesting conversation. A woman said a non Jewish woman. She said, I don't want to do this. But cross the street when I'm with my baby. And I see a person in the so isn't this embarrassing for us? My sister was on the train today. And they were bunch of school kids say let's not sit next to juice because they don't vaccinate. She was so disturbed. She was extremely disturbed. She felt very hurt by her fellow community members that made her look bad in the eyes of others. It was very sad, actually. Sara Maslin near writes about New York for the times. Sir. Where did all of this start? How did measles? Get Toya's Burke, this amick started more than five thousand miles away from New York City in Israel. So Israeli Jews tend to go for the high holidays to Ukraine and Ukraine is in the middle of a serious measles outbreak. So some unvaccinated people went to Ukraine picked up measles there. Brought it back to Israel. Now, you have Brooklyn Jews traveling overseas to visit family and friends to Israel where everyone goes for holidays to see grandma and grandpa and those children mostly took ill over there. Brought it back. New Jersey a warning people who are at Newark liberty airport last five that they may have been exposed to measles. A learning about measles cases in Brooklyn officials confirmed a fourth case this morning, the number of children contracting, the disease continues to grow just in the last week health officials have confirmed ninety new cases there about one hundred seven reported cases, so far up to one hundred fifty five cases that we've confirmed as early this afternoon. And the thing to know about measles is it's insanely contagious. In fact, measles is so contagious that. If one person has it up to ninety percent of people close to that person who are not immune. We'll get measles. Measles. Symptoms. Are usually mild at first runny, nose, cough, watery eyes and low fever, then the fever worsens and Arash starts on the face and spreads most people can recover fully. But it can lead to pneumonia even brain damage, which is why the US has worked for decades to get this under control and actually won the bad. Title in two thousand the United States declared measles eradicated from the country. Well, given that why was there a measles outbreak in Williamsburg versus just a couple people coming back from Israel. So to understand why this spread like wildfire in this particular community. You have to understand the unique nature of the Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn. It's a very communal religion to pray as a Jew you. Need a minimum of ten people to get together. So at baseline it really centers around community families have a large number of kids. I think on average six compared to the national average of about two and sometimes many more people babysit each other's kids. They spend a tremendous amount of time together and within this already combustible situation. A number of parents just don't vaccinate their children. And why is that since the invention vaccine's? There has always been resistance to them. People. Just didn't understand them initially me of get it right there administered to a little baby. They require a needle vaccines contain a version of the germ that they're trying to prevent, but I think you can trace the modern route of this anti vaccination to about the seventies one girl in three misuse of actually sometimes because of absentees sometimes because parents object. That's when study came out linking extra the whooping, cough X, and we're not talk about measles here. Whopping cough too serious childhood side effects, like seizures believe that risk of damage from the vaccine is now greater than the risk of damage from the disease, and it was essentially debunked. But nevertheless, it sent whooping cough. Vaccination rates pretty in the UK where that study was plummeting from about eighty percent to thirty percent about. About. I have decided on. I just think that she could be one in the million that something might happen too. So I just decided to leave then a number of documentaries came out. Also peddling wrong information, what we have found are serious questions about the safety and effectiveness of the shot really created a resistance among some parents vaccinate their kids really, particularly these ultra liberal enclaves, Berkeley or Washington state. And why there there's already among that group at that time skepticism of big pharma of drug companies pumping things into our environments and bodies that we don't need just to make a profit and an employee of a pharmaceutical company that manufacturers vaccine be objective in designing experiments to show fault in a product that generates close to a billion dollars in sales for his company these communities pushed for what's called a philosophical exemption that you can send your kid to school without being vaccinated based on philosophical belief and. By the nineties that's spread really across the United States. So now, you can send a child to school without having them vaccinated as long as you have this exemption. What should parents do? After report. Linking the measles. Mumps and rubella vaccines with autism in one thousand nine hundred eighty eight at this ratchets up exponentially these viruses lie a researcher deemed, Andrew Wakefield publishes. A study in a British medical journal called the Lancet establishing long-term infection, and they're capable of producing term adverse events, and it claims to find that measles vaccine causes autism in children as a very small study. It just included twelve children nevertheless wildfire. So you ask any mother in the autism community. If we'll take the flu the measles over autism. Any day of the week. Do you remember Jenny McCarthy she was the host of singled out I used to love the show. I watch him when I was a kid. We'll she picks this up she has a child with autism. And she goes on the anti vaccination rampage. I am a mom of a child bet on who has a voice that is willing to shake the Brown. Those responsible until our children. Publishes a book Jenny McCarthy is here to tell us about her latest book healing and preventing autism a complete guide, and she becomes really the poster child mom for the anti vaccination movement. So I think they need to wake up and stop hurting our kids, and we're not meanwhile, yesterday, a respected British medical journal retracted a study that said the M our vaccine may trigger autism study. I told you about the set this all off debunked. This publication which was wrong with scientifically implausible, which should never have been published to start with the researcher. Andrew Wakefield turns out he'd accepted money from entities that wanted him to reach a certain conclusion that vaccines were harmful the charges were he'd paid children at his son's birthday party to give blood samples and that he'd had a financial interest in discrediting, the m our vaccine and a journalist found he'd fabricated tremendous amount of data. But even the fact that this study gets totally trashed doesn't stop the idea that vaccines cause autism. If you happen to be apparent, and you say, I'm sorry. I God gave me a brain. God gave me personal choice. I'm going to say no to those vaccines because I've done my homework. It gets picked up by the tea party. Where is anybody saying my gosh, we're living in the days of Galileo because it's sort of plays into that. Government. Don't tell me what to do kind of thing. Third around shots convulsions within hours. Alex Jones, the founder of Infowars. This known conspiracy theorist gets behind it up, and we're working on getting any McCarthy on and then it comes from the future leader of the free world himself, Donald Trump. Dr Carson, Donald Trump has publicly and repeatedly linked vaccines childhood vaccines to autism, which do you know, the medical community adamantly disputes Europeana Trich neurosurgeon, should Mr. Trump stop saying this. Well, let me put it this way. There have been numerous studies, and they have not demonstrated that there's any correlation between back summations and autism in a Republican presidential primary debate in two thousand fifteen Donald Trump who'd been tweeting. And speaking about the subject of vaccines and autism for many years is asked a question, Mr. Trump as president. All right to you. Mr. Trump as president you would be in charge of the centers for disease control and the national institutes of health both of which say you are wrong. How would you handle this as president autism has become an epidemic and his answer? I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses. Over a longer period of time seems to link vaccines and autism because you take a baby and I've seen it. And I've seen it. And I had my children taking care of over a long period of over two or three year period of time. Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump. I mean, it looks just like it's meant for a horse not for a child, and we've had so many instances people that worked from just the other day two years old two and a half years old child of beautiful job went to have the vaccine and came back and a week later. Got a tremendous ver- got very very sick now is autistic, and now we have groups that won't. Let go of this discredited science actually, dedicated to spreading almost evangelists for the cause of anti vaccine called peach anti vaccine group and in two thousand seventeen we start to see a really targeted push by this group and others to bring the orthodox community in Williamsburg in New York into the anthrax fold. Why target orthodox Jews? What makes the antibodies people think that this community is going to be open to their message anti vaccine targets community not because they want to get their message specifically out to CITIC choose. But because they think they're protecting children and they wanna protect everyone's children. That's what they think they're doing here they fly their doors with pamphlets that are in Hebrew. And yet they've set up hotlines and robo called them to spread this information, not meant to persuade you in any direction rather to create an intelligent discussion about what we are putting into our children the purpose of these scenes where and why we? Don't know more about I listened to one of these calls, and I was stunned by the misinformation being peddled. As fact this community is particularly vulnerable to this kind of misinformation really because of how it's structured you're not really permitted to dig into the secular world for outside. Sources. That's why it's been so affected for these groups real use the tools that speak to this community, those hotlines, for example, people already listening to them. So when one robocalls you in your kitchen with all of this false information about vaccines. You're already primed to listen up for Larry flipped you. So big. A dell. How are you to talk to you thought? There's no proof that unvaccinated children are the news. And that's actually children don't and there's this other thing happening here, which is a cultural trauma that's been handed down through the generations from the holocaust where Jews were experimented on. And so make sense that there's this skepticism of government and medical intervention by the government. So this is not a religious belief among us Jews that they shouldn't get a measles vaccine. No, not at all actually, quite the opposite. And number of the people interviewed were really keen to express that. There's this phrase from the Torah finish Marta code Lynagh show safm. It means you have to take care of your body in order to do God's work. They actually believe you have to keep your health, but like any community you're gonna have people who do their own thing. And for whatever reason number of them chose not to vaccinate and given the insularity community that individual decision became. Everyone's problem. It set off a medical crisis. Measles is spreading this month throughout the orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg and by March in both rocklin that's a little bit north of New York City, and in Brooklyn, it's reaching hundreds of kids and adults. Now later today, the city's health department coming together with the left it officials and rabbis to hold a meeting right here in this community. They wanna make sure families here and across the city understand the importance of getting back Sonate it and officials do something extreme health officials appearances through schools to keep their kids home. If they have not been vaccinated if you're vaccinated fine. You do you don't come to school, then they up even more yesterday's executive order called for nearly six thousand unvaccinated children to be removed from schools children under the age of eighteen who are not knitted are now banned from going to public places in Rockland county, New York public officials in Rockland county make an order that children. Without vaccination can't go into public places to later. We're here in Williamsburg today to deal with the very serious situation. In Brooklyn, the mayor of New York City, build a Blasios today, we are declaring public health emergency effective immediately. This whole mandate vaccines for people living in the affected area. It said everyone in certain zip codes hotspots had to be vaccinated. Armagh health will issue violations and fines to people who remain unvaccinated. We cannot allow this dangerous disease to make a comeback here in New York City. We have to stop it. Now. Can the government for somebody to get vaccinated when they don't want to be vaccinated, especially on religious grounds. If that's what they choose to say though, in nineteen five the supreme court ruled that a state Ken mandate vaccines, and that there can be criminal fines for people who don't comply. Actually, there's a great quota came across of a judge throwing out a case by people who didn't wanna vaccinate in Brooklyn. And he said the following. He said a firemen need not obtain the informed consent of the owner before extinguishing a house fire vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion. And that's what's happening here. Yuba city that views this as as dangerous as a fire, and it's going to do everything can to protect citizens whether some people like it or not, however while I can burst into a house to put on a fire. If cannot force anyone. To get a vaccine to confine them afterwards. But it can't stop people from making these complex individual choices that endanger everybody else it can't. But it can find them and find them and find them and keep them in their homes and keep them out of public spaces and make it very worth their while to get onboard in what has been the response from the Hasidic community to the government attempts to end the outbreak. There's been a lot of fear and a lot of anger. They feel that they're under attack. And it's actually not a civic Jewish problem. Right. It's an anti vaccine problem that happens to be in this community. There are anti vaccine all over the world and across the United States, but they aren't usually visually identifiable, the Jewish community has a real visual signifier. So they say that by being targeted by these different interventions that have cropped up. It's creating a stigma about them that stigma is feeding into antisemitic tropes that are already. There. I heard some very upsetting things as I interviewed people in the streets of rocklin about people wiping bus seats, when they see a Hasidic persona- sat there about crossing the street and covering their baby. When a person with a black hat walks by those really, call to mind uncomfortable things that have happened in the past for the Jewish community. At the end of the day. It feels like we are all kind of powerless to stop individuals and groups from not getting vaccines or from not getting vaccines and stepping out of their house as an evidently if I was like they will. So that means that is we have to convince these people that it's in their interest and an hours to get exited. Yeah. And when I was in Williamsburg, I met authentic man who pretty staunchly anti vaccine actually stone, relative what have with autism. And like she said that child will decay to give since. We and always have a complication them. He's not feeling well, and then he pulled out his phone, and he showed me a picture of his brother the lips. If you see his lips whole like with listers swallow and his whole body and the young man was covered in hustles. He had measles when I spoke with complaining himself on the feel most just can't eat and feeling like horrible and hugely ill fever hit exposed children to it. And this change something for him. When you start to see your own community get sick when he had seen his brother, so unwell. He started to rethink his position change your perspective about this vaccine situation when it came so close to home. Avenue vaccinating might get my children I could of his community. I think the Husted Jews in New York are having that experience. And I think this epidemic is going to change a lot of mines about the validity affects nation. Sara. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me. on Wednesday. Federal health officials announced that the measles virus has now been detected in twenty two states. With most cases linked to the outbreak any orthodox Jewish communities in New York and to another outbreak that began in Washington state in a statement the center for disease control and prevention said, quote, the longer these outbreaks continue the greater the chance measles will again get a sustained foothold in the United States. We'll get back. At fidelity, you get value. You won't find anywhere else decisions. They're clear costs they're lower and account fees. There's zero so you can invest with zero trade trade-offs opening account today at fidelity dot com slash trading zero account minimums zero account fees apply to retail brokerage accounts. Only expenses charged by investments such as funds managed accounts, HSA's commissions interest charges or other expenses for transactions may still apply. See fidelity dot com slash commissions for details. Fidelity brokerage services LLC member NYSE as I Hello daily listener, my name is Andy mills, and I'm one of the people that make this show before coming to work at the New York Times. I didn't quite understand what the reporters here did. And now that I've gotten a chance to see how much hard work. How much persistence goes into just one story that goes out? I feel like my subscription to the New York Times is a way of me becoming like a stockholder in what it is that they're doing. I almost feel like a sense of commod ary when they blow open the doors on a big. Estimation. It's my subscription money. That's helping them find the complicated and difficult truth of the world and put it into the public sphere. None of the work that we get to chance to do would be possible. If it wasn't for people who subscribe, if you're already a subscriber, thank you. If you're wondering how you could pitch him to help more reporting and more shows like the daily exist. Just get a subscription to the New York Times. The daily is the New York Times. Here's what else you need to noted on Thursday morning. FBI agents raided the office and home of Baltimore's mayor Catherine Pugh escalating a criminal investigation into her conduct. Pugh has been dogged by questions about lucrative financial deals in which local businesses paid her. Unusually large sums of money for copies of a series of children's books that she wrote and self published called healthy, Holly. Twenty ten canned cheap. First children's book. The character. Talk to young people. Could improve the deals amounted to more than seven hundred thousand dollars in payments. Many by businesses that rely on pews administration for funding raising the possibility that the book purchases were of form of bribery. I never intended to do anything than not stand up to scrutiny Pugh has denied any wrong. But hours after the raid, Maryland governor Larry HOGAN called for her to resign saying she had lost the ability to govern. And the times reports that in the weeks leading up to his announcement that he would run for president former vice president Joe Biden, privately apologized to Anita hill for what she endured during the nineteen ninety one confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, Biden oversaw those hearings which involved aggressive and skeptical questioning Bill. As she testified that Thomas had sexually harassed her after her conversation with Biden hill told the times she was unsatisfied with his apology and could not support his candidacy. The daily is made by feel Belkacem Andy mills Lisa Tobin, which will quest her Lindsey garrison any Brown, Claire tennis getter page count. Michael Simon Johnson Brad Fisher, the ricin Anderson Wendy door. Chris would Jessica Chung Alexandra Leong Jonathan wolf Lisa Chow. Eric Kripke, Mark, George and Luke Vander blue. Our theme music is by Jim Bromberg, and Ben Landsberg of Wunderle special. Thanks to Sam dole MC McCabe. Ooh. Chard Stella tan. Julia Simon and Samantha Hanoch. That's it for the daily. I'm Michael Barr. See you on Monday. Hey, there the daily his created a weekly newsletter that takes you behind the scenes of how we think about the news tell stories and make this show every Friday, you'll hear from me and the producers who create the daily wash your feedback from listeners good and bad. And we'll let you know what podcast or listening to to sign up. Go to NY times dot com slash newsletter. That's NY times dot com slash newsletter. And thanks.

Coming up next