New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn in response to a measles outbreak.
The declaration will require unvaccinated people living in the affected areas to get the vaccine or face fines.
The city’s largest measles outbreak since 1991 has mainly been confined to the Orthodox Jewish community in the borough of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.
285 cases were confirmed since October.
While there have been no confirmed deaths so far, 21 people have been hospitalized, with five admitted to intensive care.
All but 39 of the confirmed cases are in children.
“Today we are declaring a public health emergency effective immediately. This will mandate vaccines for people living in the affected area. Department of health will issue violations and fines to people who remain unvaccinated,” de Blasio said.
“The only way to stop this outbreak is to ensure that those who have not been vaccinated get the vaccine. It’s crucial for people to understand, the measles vaccine works. It is safe, it is effective, it is time tested,” he added.
The outbreak is part of a broader resurgence in the United States, with 465 cases reported in 19 states so far this year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (REUTERS)
President Donald Trump urged Americans on Monday (March 16) to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.
Announcing new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president said people should avoid discretionary travel and not go to bars, restaurants, food courts or gyms.
As stocks tumbled, Trump warned that a recession was possible, a development that could affect his chances of re-election in November. The Republican president said he was focused on addressing the health crisis and that the economy would get better once that was in line.
The task force implored young people to follow the new guidelines even though they were at lesser risk of suffering if they contract the virus. Older people, especially those with underlying health problems, are at the greatest risk if they develop the respiratory disease.
Reporters staggered their seating, sitting in every other seat in the White House briefing room, to follow social distancing measures.
Trump said the worst of the virus could be over by July, August or later. He called it an invisible enemy.
The president has taken criticism for playing down the seriousness of the virus in the early days of its U.S. spread. On Monday, when asked, he gave himself a good grade for his response.
“I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job,” he said.
Trump said a nationwide curfew was not under consideration at this point.
Normally a cheerleader for the U.S. economy, he acknowledged the possibility of a recession while brushing off another dramatic decline on stock markets as investors worried about the virus.
“We’re not thinking in terms of recession, we’re thinking in terms of the virus. Once we stop, I think there’s a tremendous pent up demand, both in terms of the stock market and in terms of the economy,” Trump said. The president has long considered soaring stock markets to be a sign of his administration’s success.
Trump said the administration had talked regularly about domestic travel restrictions but hoped not to have to put such measures in place.
He said he thought it would still be possible for G7 leaders to meet at the Camp David retreat in Maryland in June. Trump upset European countries, which make up a large part of the G7, by instituting travel restrictions from European countries without consulting with them first. (Reuters)
Broadway theaters, among New York’s biggest tourist attractions, were shut down for a month on Thursday (March 12) in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the city.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on all gatherings of more than 500 people, including theatres, starting on Thursday evening. Most Broadway theatres have around 1,000 seats.
The Broadway League said in a statement that shows would be suspended until April 13. They include crowd-pleasers like “Hamilton,” “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
The decision was part of a range of extraordinary measures in the nation’s biggest city. Some 328 people in New York are confirmed to have the disease, Cuomo said.
The spreading virus has already led to cancellation or postponement of dozens of U.S. entertainment industry events, including the Coachella and South by Southwest festivals, CinemaCon, the E3 videogames convention and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Broadway was spooked on Wednesday (March 11) when an usher who had worked at two New York theatres tested positive for coronavirus. Owners of the two venues said they had ordered deep cleanings and their shows went ahead on Wednesday.
Television talk shows “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” said they would tape their broadcasts in New York venues without audiences going forward.
Several Broadway plays and musicals had previously put a halt to cast members greeting fans and signing programs at stage doors.
Some 14.8 million tickets were sold for Broadway shows in the 2018-2019 season that ended in May, bringing $1.8 billion in box office receipts, according to the Broadway League. Some 63% of those going to shows were tourists, from outside the United States or outside New York.
“Our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of Broadway theatergoers and the thousands of people who work in the theatre industry every day, including actors, musicians, stagehands, ushers, and many other dedicated professionals,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said in a statement on Friday. (Reuters)
(Production by: Catherine Koppel and Hussein al Waaile)
A handful of people were seen on the streets of Milan on Wednesday morning (March 12) following stringent measures imposed to contain the coronavirus.
Shops and restaurants closed, hundreds of flights were cancelled and streets emptied across Italy on Tuesday (March 10), the first day of an unprecedented, nationwide lockdown imposed to slow Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus.
Just hours after the dramatic new restrictions came into force, health authorities announced the death toll had jumped by 168 to 631, the largest rise in absolute numbers since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.
The total number of confirmed cases rose at a much slower rate than recently seen, hitting 10,149 against a previous 9,172, but officials warned that the region at the epicentre, Lombardy, had provided incomplete data.
The government has told all Italians to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel until April 3, radically widening steps already taken in much of the wealthy north, which is the epicentre of the spreading contagion. (Reuters)
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