WILLIAMSBURG — This area of Brooklyn is being considered ground zero for the measles outbreak in New York City.
“This outbreak has been spreading, there are almost 300 cases already, overwhelmingly in Brooklyn. And to give you a sense of what a troubling development this is, it’s a huge spike, we saw only two cases in New York City in 2017,” said Bill de Blasio, NY Mayor.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio officially declared the measles outbreak a public health emergency. On Tuesday, he ordered mandatory vaccinations for children and adults in Williamsburg, Brooklyn — specifically, Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, where most kids have not been immunized.
“The only way to stop this outbreak is to ensure that those who have not been vaccinated get the vaccine. It’s crucial for people to understand, the measles vaccine works. It is safe, it is effective, it is time tested.”
A short distance away on the east side of Williamsburg, coffee shop owner Chevy Evangelista said he has not seen panic on this side of the neighborhood but they are certainly worried.
“Yes, I’m very concerned! I’m very concerned about the anti-vaccination people – just try to believe in science.”
In the nearby boro of Queens, Filipinos in Woodside have some mixed reactions about the city’s health order.
At least 465 people nationwide have been diagnosed with the virus this year in the U.S.
This area of Brooklyn and the suburb of Rockland County just 40 miles north are hit the hardest – with over half the country’s cases. In Rockland County, officials are in a legal battle over banning children from public places, if they’re not immunized.
They are concerned about the spread of the disease beyond those neighborhoods.
“Especially now that our healthcare system is not great. And to be contracted with measles and what if these families don’t have health insurance.”
New York officials cannot physically force anyone to get the vaccine, but anyone violating the health order could face up to one thousand dollars in fines.