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Expand chart
Data: Adapted from a CDC chart; Chart: Axios Visuals

Measles cases in the U.S. this year are "certainly going to surpass those in 2018," mainly due to the lack of vaccination in certain groups, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells Axios.

Why this matters: The extremely contagious virus, which can cause serious complications like pneumonia, brain swelling and even occasional death, requires a vaccination rate of 93%–95% in order to prevent outbreaks. "Whenever the level of vaccination gets below a certain level, you will get outbreaks," Fauci says.

Driving the news: Rockland County in New York rocked the nation when it declared a local state of emergency starting Wednesday, with a directive barring unvaccinated children under 18 from countywide public spaces unless they are under 6 months or have a medical exemption..

  • The community — which only had a 72.9% vaccination rate in those under 18 — is paying the price with 156 cases reported as of March 28.
  • John Lyon, spokesperson for Rockland County Executive Ed Day, says the directive is considered a Class B misdemeanor, which could have up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.
  • "We don't want to put any people in jail, though. That's insane," Lyon tells Axios.
  • But, he adds, they needed to take action after the outbreak had gone on for 6 months and there was growing resistance to their efforts to track the whereabouts of infected people the 4 days before and 4 days after they got a fever when they were contagious.
  • The reason this is needed, Lyon adds, is to inform the public if they were near those places, so they could take action to protect themselves from the worst of the virus by either getting a vaccination or immunoglobulin shot to boost immunity.
  • They are already seeing a large uptick in vaccinations since Wednesday morning, he reports.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows outbreaks reported in New York City, Washington State, Texas, Illinois and California.

The bottom line: "Unfortunately, it will take the reality of the deleterious consequences of non-vaccination in communities" before the outbreak will stop, Fauci says. "This is a virus that can kill you. Most children recover quite well but [some will not.]"

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Trump's volatile return to the stock market

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals 

Donald Trump this week became both a meme stock and a social-media entrepreneur at the same time, by announcing that a new company called Trump Media & Technology Group was going to merge with an existing company listed on the stock market.

Why it matters: The medium-term promise of Trump's media company is that it will replace Twitter for anybody wanting to keep track of Trump's messages. The short-term promise is that it can be a hot new speculative vehicle for people wanting to get rich quick in the stock market.

Updated 11 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

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