Saturday February 29, 2020

New York Takes Drastic Steps to Prevent Spread of Measles Outbreak

There have been more than 400 measles cases in 19 states just this year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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measles outbreak
A woman, right, who identified herself as Ester, passes a group of boys, April 9, 2019, in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. Ester says that she does not believe that the measles vaccination is safe. VOA

For months, New York City has been fighting a measles outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community. The mayor finally declared a public health emergency April 9 because measles continue to spread among unvaccinated children. Parents who refuse to vaccinate now face heavy fines.

Brooklyn is a borough in New York City known for its tight-knit, ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Women wear long, modest dresses, and the men are recognizable in large-brimmed hats and long black coats.

Vaccine mandatory

About 100,000 Orthodox Jews live in Brooklyn. It’s in this community where measles has been spreading since an unvaccinated child brought the virus back from a visit to Israel last October. The inability to contain the outbreak prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to declare a public health emergency.

“We have a situation now where children are in danger,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio ordered mandatory vaccinations in the Orthodox neighborhoods. Unvaccinated children will not be allowed to attend school, and their parents may face steep fines.

Their religion does not prohibit immunization, and city health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot says the duration of this outbreak is alarming.

“We’ve worked closely with the community religious leaders and schools to make sure that vulnerable people are kept safe during this outbreak and to challenge the dangerous misinformation that is being spread by a group of anti-vaxxers,” she said.

Schools honor emergency

The ParCare Community Health Network caters to Orthodox families. Gary Schlesinger is its chief executive. He told VOA that the private, religious schools these children attend will honor the terms of the emergency declaration.

“They were very clear that they will unequivocally deny any parent who does not vaccinate their children,” he said.

Schlesinger says about 100 families are solidly against vaccines because they mistakenly believe vaccines cause autism or even death. These are some of the same beliefs people in other, secular communities hold.

Safe vaccine

Dr. Camille Sabella at the Cleveland Clinic says multiple studies involving hundreds of thousands of children prove that the measles vaccine is safe.

“It really is an incredibly safe vaccine. We’ve been using it since the 1960s in this country, and it has an outstanding safety record,” he said.

ALSO READ: Measles Cases Between Jan to March have Exceeded the 2018 Count: US Health Officials

There have been more than 400 measles cases in 19 states just this year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials are concerned because measles outbreaks can also be a sign that children aren’t being vaccinated against other deadly diseases, as well. (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s Why Drone Delivery is Not Possible in Densely-Populated Areas Like New York or New Delhi

The study, conducted by Gohram Baloch and Gzara, used New York City as an example and looks at data surrounding the Manhattan area

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Demand for drone delivery in e-retail is high but the ability to meet that demand is very low. Pixabay

Your dream to get a pizza delivered by a drone or an Amazon drone knocking at the door will remain a dream as researchers have revealed that a drone delivery service is not realistic and may not be possible in densely-populated areas like New York or New Delhi.

The reason is simple: Demand for drone delivery in e-retail is high but the ability to meet that demand is very low. For a city like New York, the optimal design for the test locations, based on all factors, is three drone facilities covering 75 per cent of NYC area and 34 per cent of the population.

“Opening a fourth facility increases area and population coverage to 84 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively, but the increase in operation cost is not enough to cover the facility costs,” said the researchers from University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

“We analyse the tradeoffs between distribution costs and revenues under varying social difficulties with drones like customer preferences and regulatory and technological limitations,” said Fatma Gzara, a professor in the Department of Management Sciences at Waterloo.

“We then can make educated decisions on how many facilities to open, which services to offer at that facility and which services to make available to customers in certain areas,” she added. The new research, published in the journal Transportation Science, looked at how possible and desirable it is to use drones for delivery for e-retailers considering cost and effectiveness in certain population areas and in certain locations.

The study, conducted by Gohram Baloch and Gzara, used New York City as an example and looks at data surrounding the Manhattan area. The authors separated the area into boroughs based on population and size. Baloch and Gzara said they chose New York because the world’s largest e-retail company, Amazon, first started its 2-hour delivery services in the Big Apple.

Drone
Researchers have revealed that a drone delivery service is not realistic and may not be possible in densely-populated areas like New York or New Delhi. Pixabay

“Our results show that government regulations, technological limitations, and service charge decisions play a vital role in optimal configurations and drone target markets,” said Gzara.

“Under current drone landing capabilities, a drone delivery service may not be possible in a densely populated area like Manhattan where demand for such a service is expected to be high,” the researchers wrote.

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e-retailers can reach smaller markets and more price-sensitive customers by possibly offering discounts on drone-delivered orders, the findings showed. (IANS)