Apr 9, 2019

NYC declares public health emergency despite safe, available measles vaccine

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There's a state of emergency in New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio is practically begging residents to get their vaccinations after 285 confirmed cases of measles since the fall.

Why it matters: The world's financial capital has declared a public health emergency in the face of a virus that has a safe and effective vaccine.

  • "This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately," de Blasio said today. "The measles vaccine works. It is safe, it is effective, it is time-tested."
  • 21 cases have put people in the hospital, including 5 who needed intensive care, the N.Y. Times reports.
  • "The majority of the cases have been concentrated in Hasidic communities in Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn."

The big picture: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci just last month told Axios the current outbreak of measles would "certainly" overtake all of last year's cases, and he was right.

What's next: New York is threatening fines of up to $1,000 on individuals in certain areas who don't get their kids vaccinated.

  • “We are absolutely certain we have the power to do this,” de Blasio said today. “This is a public health emergency.”

The bottom line: The spread of measles can be controlled if enough people are vaccinated. The World Health Organization says the magic number is between 93%–95% of people.

Go deeper: Long-term measles vaccine study shows no link with autism — again

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MLB's Rob Manfred is latest villain in Astros' cheating scandal

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's decision to grant Astros players immunity in exchange for confessions about their sign-stealing scheme has undermined his reputation — and he only made himself look worse on Sunday.

The interview: In a 45-minute conversation with ESPN, Manfred asserted that public shame was punishment enough for the Astros. He also called the World Series trophy "just a piece of metal" and said that taking a title away from Houston "seems like a futile act."

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Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Worries are growing that the economic impact from the novel coronavirus outbreak will be worse than expected and that markets are being too complacent in factoring it in as a risk.

What's happening: The number of confirmed cases has already far outpaced expectations and even those reports are being viewed through a lens of suspicion that the Chinese government is underreporting the figures.

National newspapers thrive while local outlets struggle to survive

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While big national newspapers grow stronger, local newspaper chains that have for decades kept the vast majority of the country informed are combusting.

Why it matters: The inequity between giants like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and their local counterparts represents a growing problem in America as local communities no longer have the power to set the agenda for the news that most affects them.