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American Media Blames Russia for Measles Outbreak in Orthodox Jewish Community

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NEW YORK – April 12, 2019

The Health Department announced on April 8 that it has issued Commissioner’s Orders to all yeshivas in Williamsburg affected by the school exclusion mandate, according to NYC’s DOH press-office.

The measles outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community is now at 285 cases since it began last October. 246 cases are children 18 and under, 39 are adults; 21 people have been hospitalized.

Ahead of Passover, the Health Department is urging all New Yorkers — especially those in the Orthodox Jewish community — to get the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine to prevent further spread of the virus. Individuals traveling to areas with ongoing large outbreaks, including Israel, Europe, Upstate New York, and other parts of the United States should make sure they and their children are appropriately vaccinated with MMR.

“As a pediatrician, I know the MMR vaccine is safe and effective. This outbreak is being fueled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighborhoods. They have been spreading dangerous misinformation based on fake science,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

According to the Order of the Commissioner, the failure to comply with the Order is a violation of §3.05 of the New York City Health Code, and a misdemeanor for which you may be subject to civil and/or criminal fines, forfeitures and penalties, including imprisonment. If the Health Department identifies a person with measles or an unvaccinated child exposed to measles in one of the following ZIP codes: 11205, 11206, 11211, 11249, that individual or their parent or guardian could be fined $1,000.

Most cases have been reported from Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn. Five cases, including the initial case of measles, were acquired on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring. Two people contracted measles from the U.K. and one from Ukraine.

The neighborhoods that are affected include:

  • Bensonhurst: 1 confirmed measles case (no additional cases since November 2018)
  • Borough Park: 49 confirmed measles cases (no additional cases in the past week)
  • Brighton Beach: 1 travel-related case
  • Crown Heights: 1 (no additional cases in the past week)
  • Midwood/Marine Park: 3 confirmed measles cases (no additional cases in the past week)
  • Williamsburg: 228 confirmed measles cases (26 additional cases in the past week)
  • Flushing: 2 confirmed cases (no additional cases in the past week)

Measles is a highly contagious disease and can cause pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and death. Measles is easily preventable with the safe and effective MMR vaccine.

Measles is transmitted by airborne particles, droplets, and direct contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person. Symptoms usually appear 10 to 12 days after exposure to measles, and in some cases, symptoms can start as early as seven days or as late as 21 days following exposure. Early symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Rash and fever are the typical symptoms of measles and usually occur four days following the early symptoms. The rash usually starts on the face and proceeds down the body. The rash lasts several days. Infected individuals are contagious from four days before rash onset through the fourth day after rash appearance.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles. Anyone who has received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine is highly unlikely to get measles. New Yorkers should call 311 to access a list of facilities that can provide MMR at low or no cost.

There are large outbreaks of measles in Europe, Ukraine and Israel, as well as in countries in South America, Africa, and Asia. Thus, Ukraine suffered 64,000 confirmed cases last year, according to the World Health Organization. New Yorkers should make sure they have been vaccinated with MMR vaccine before traveling to Europe or Israel. To find out how you can get vaccinated, visit the Health Department’s Measles page and immunization clinic or call 311.

Most of the people who contracted the disease appear to have come from predominantly Orthodox Jewish communities, where large groups of children remain unvaccinated. However, governmental records indicate that the measles vaccination rates in yeshivas in Williamsburg, Borough Park and across New York State are high, with yeshiva averages statewide exceeding 96%. Still, news of "measles parties," events where parents bring their unvaccinated children together to purposely help them contract the disease, are concerning public health officials. During a press conference on the measles outbreak, officials confirmed multiple reports of these gatherings, which echo other disease-related "parties" of years past.

"Back in the day people were having parties to expose their kids to chickenpox," NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said. "We live in a different world now ... there are serious consequences to that."

Countless rabbinical figures and leaders, including leading rabbis in the Agudath Israel movement and doctors serving these communities, have repeatedly encouraged vaccination in the strongest possible terms.

“Agudath Israel views with equal alarm something else that has spread along with this disease: infectious hatred. Our public discourse is debased when individuals and media outlets point the finger of blame for the spread of measles squarely - and sometimes viciously - at the “ultra-Orthodox” community. Social media comments have been particularly appalling in this regard. This is a time to come together and collaborate to meet a challenge. There is no excuse to use a public health issue - an outbreak we are suffering from - as a platform from which to spew poisonous anti-Semitic rhetoric. The motive behind this hatred becomes readily apparent in light of statistics evidencing that acute Orthodox Jewish outbreak areas have vaccination rates rivaling those of many other municipalities,” Agudath Israel statement reads.

Along with the outbreak affecting Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community, Rockland County in upstate New York is also experiencing a high number of measles cases within its own Orthodox Jewish community. As of last Friday, the county reported 153 confirmed cases, though state health officials noted that additional cases have not been reported. Rockland County Commissioner of Health Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert explained that the county is in the process of developing new criteria to identify specific unvaccinated people who have been exposed to the measles in order to issue orders that require them to remain at home for 21 days, the length of the illness' incubation period. If caught in violation of this rule, people will be fined, she said.

Unfortunately, some American MSM are turning this tragedy into an opportunity to blame Russia for the measles outbreak across the globe.

“There are also reports that Russian misinformation played a significant role in Europe's 2018 measles outbreak, which sickened 82,000 people and killed 72, with anti-vaccine messages contributing to a marked decline in immunization in southern and eastern countries,” CBC wrote with reference to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Foreign Policy published its own piece of disinformation titled, “How Russia Sows Confusion in the U.S. Vaccine Debate”.

“Russian disinformation activities, which have tried to amplify and intensify the debate between pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine activists, have contributed to the illusion of a growing anti-vaxxer movement while also sowing distrust among Americans,” Foreign Policy wrote. However, FP fails to provide any evidence on that and continued, “… although this information operation may not have changed U.S. vaccination rates, it has successfully identified two critical vulnerabilities—inequality and distrust in the public health system.”

All these phony accusations have one source - David A. Broniatowski, a professor at George Washington University, who published a number of “researches” on trolls and other “Malicious Actors.” His recent articles speak for themselves: “Malicious Actors on Twitter: A Guide for Public Health Researchers” published in the American Journal of Public Health, “Weaponized Health Communication: Twitter Bots and Russian Trolls Amplify the Vaccine Debate,” “Detecting and Characterizing Bot-Like Behavior on Twitter,” “Vaccine opponents' use of Twitter during the 2016 US presidential election: Implications for practice and policy” and some others.

It is worth noting that Broniatowski started 10 years ago from… space exploration. He wrote about “A framework for evaluating international cooperation in space exploration,” “The political sustainability of space exploration,” “An international approach to lunar exploration in preparation for Mars,” and even about “A Deployable Instrument Package for Paleontological Research.”

Unsurprisingly, Broniatowski found … nothing. Broniatowski said he hasn't seen any evidence that Russia has tried to weaken Western democracies by persuading people to stop vaccinating. Nevertheless, the fake memories have already been planted in minds.

The Business Insider has joined the tinfoil hatters chorus, repeating the 22- month old mantra about Trump-Russia collusion which has already been proven as a Soros-sponsored plot against Trump.

“Americans still believe that Russia’s disinformation efforts are overwhelmingly partisan. In part, that is because of the Russian information warfare operations during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which supported the presidency of Donald Trump,” they wrote.

“As the 2020 election approaches, Russia’s approach may shift again. Indeed, some of the Kremlin’s early propaganda efforts have promoted the candidacy of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, which likely stems from the belief that she supports the preservation of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Given Gabbard’s divergence from the majority of Democrats on key social and foreign-policy issues, Russian support for her candidacy mimics its support of Trump in 2016 as a divisive outsider.”

This fake has been already exposed. On February 2, NBC News published a story, claiming that “experts who track websites and social media linked to Russia have seen stirrings of a possible campaign of support for Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard.” To justify its claim that Gabbard is the Kremlin’s candidate, NBC stated, “analysts at New Knowledge, the company the Senate Intelligence Committee used to track Russian activities in the 2016 election, told NBC News they’ve spotted ‘chatter’ related to Gabbard in anonymous online message boards, including those known for fomenting right-wing troll campaigns.”

The only other so-called expert cited by NBC in support of its claim that Russian accounts are supporting Gabbard is someone NBC identified as “Josh Russell.” He is touted by NBC as “a researcher and ‘troll hunter’ known for identifying fake accounts.” In reality, Russell is someone CNN last year touted as an “Indiana dad” and “amateur troll hunter” with a full-time job unrelated to Russia (he works as programmer at a college) and whose “hobby” is tracing online Russian accounts.

New Knowledge is funded by the billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman and known for fabricating thousands of fictitious Russian troll accounts on Facebook and Twitter on behalf of the Democratic Party in the Alabama Senate race in 2017 to manufacture false accusations that the Kremlin was interfering in that election working to defeat Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones.

Last year another controversial American company Campaign for Accountability used burner phones purchased in Panama and a fake Russian identity “Mikhail Sokolov” to create AdWords campaign that directed users to …USA Really.com. CfA even created a simple 30-second YouTube video using Facebook memes Brown Power, Black Matters and Blacktivist. The campaign brought nearly 4,000 impressions, appearing on sites including AnnCoulter.com, the Young Turks, Thom Hartmann, and Dailykos. It also appeared on media sites including The Daily Beast and Britain’s Daily Mail.

American MSM, billionaires-funded “technology companies” and “think tanks” continue their smear campaign against Russia, conservative values and common sense. It seems they never got tired of it.

Author: USA Really