Tuesday February 25, 2020

NY County Declares Emergency Because of Measles Outbreak, Bans Unvaccinated People from Public Places

So far this year, more than 300 people have contracted measles in 15 states in the U.S

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Signs advertising free measles vaccines and information about measles are displayed at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., March 27, 2019. The county declared a local state of emergency over a measles outbreak that has infected 150 people since last fall. VOA

So far this year, more than 300 people have contracted measles in 15 states in the U.S. Almost half of those cases occurred in Rockland County, just north of New York City.

Because of the outbreak, which has lasted nearly six months, county officials have declared a state of emergency and are banning anyone who is unvaccinated from frequenting public places.

“Anyone who is under 18 years of age and is not vaccinated against the measles will be prohibited from public places until the declaration expires in 30 days or until they receive their first shot of MMR,” said Ed Day, county executive.

Public places include shopping malls, restaurants, buses and trains. Police will not be asking for vaccination records, but parents can face a fine of $500 and as much as six months in jail if they refuse to vaccinate their children.

‘Roll of the dice’

The county executive says it is a matter of getting parents to understand how dangerous measles is.

“Every new case is a roll of the dice,” Day said. “It could bring on pneumonia, encephalitis, the swelling of the brain, or cause premature birth, which can lead to complications and even death.” And, he said, it’s a matter of keeping those who can’t get vaccinated safe.

“What about the infants who are out there with mom and dad? My newborn grandson is an infant. What about those who are pregnant and those with compromised immune systems like cancer patients and survivors? These are the people we all need to step up for,” Day said.

Vaccine rates vary

Vaccine rates in the U.S. are still high. A CDC study found that 94 percent of children in the U.S. receive the first dose of vaccines that protect against measles, mumps, rubella and other vaccine preventable diseases.

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A nurse holds a vial of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, Feb. 26, 2015. VOA

But vaccines that require boosters, including the vaccine against measles, had lower rates of coverage.

Some states allow parents who oppose vaccinating their children for religious or philosophical reasons to opt out. Vaccination rates in these states have dropped steadily. And as they have dropped, cases of measles have increased.

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Vaccines proven safe

Some parents wrongly believe vaccines can cause autism in children. Study after study has shown that not to be true. Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatrician with the Cleveland Clinic, defends vaccinating children.

“These vaccines are well shown to be safe,” he said. “We have tested them. We have followed children who have received these vaccines. We know how safe they are.”

Still, some parents remain unconvinced. Rockland County is offering free measles vaccinations in an effort to end the outbreak. (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.

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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)