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US risks losing measles elimination status with record cases

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The United States risks losing its measles “elimination status” if current outbreaks continue, US health authorities said Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday there have been 971 cases of measles reported in the US so far this year, which means more people have caught the disease in the last five months than in any entire calendar year since 1992, which saw 963 reported cases.

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Authorities declared measles eliminated in the US in 2000, a goal set in 1966 with the introduction of the vaccine.

Measles is considered eliminated when there is an absence of continuous disease transmission for 12 months or more in a specific geographic area, according to the CDC.

An ongoing outbreak in and around New York City that started last fall is threatening the US’s “elimination status” — if it continues for four more months, the country will no longer be able to say it has eliminated measles.

AFP /Measles

Even though the New York mayor began requiring city residents in heavily affected areas, many with large Orthodox Jewish communities, to be vaccinated starting in April, the city still had 173 cases that month and 60 in May.

The US has never counted zero measles cases. Since 2000, the number has fluctuated between a few dozen and a few hundred cases per year, with 667 cases recorded during a 2014 outbreak in Ohio, especially in Amish communities.

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The disease’s resurgence can mostly be traced back to un- or under-vaccinated travelers who brought the infection back with them from abroad — that’s what happened last year when cases were reported throughout the country, originating from the Philippines, Israel and Ukraine.

“Measles is preventable and the way to end this outbreak is to ensure that all children and adults who can get vaccinated, do get vaccinated,” said CDC director Robert Redfield.

“Again, I want to reassure parents that vaccines are safe, they do not cause autism. The greater danger is the disease that vaccination prevents.”

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Trump busted for acting like the Saudi’s ‘press secretary’ after Florida naval yard shooting

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Conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot blasted President Donald Trump for essentially becoming a "press secretary" for the Saudi Arabian government in wake of the Pensacola, Florida mass shooting.

In his column Sunday, Boot noted that the typical mass shooting sentiments like "thoughts and prayers" were absent Friday when Trump discovered that the shooting was done by a Muslim.

"It turns out that Trump actually has a triple standard, because he treats attacks by Saudis differently than those from other Muslim nations," Boot observed. "On Friday, a Saudi air force officer studying at the Naval Air Station Pensacola shot dead three Americans and wounded eight others. Instead of expressing outrage or vowing vengeance, or even waiting for all the facts to come in, Trump sounded as if he were auditioning for the job of press secretary at the Saudi Embassy."

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McConnell blocked by his own party from calling impeachment witnesses Trump wants for Senate trial: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is finding his hands tied by members of his own party who are skeptical over the appropriateness of calling some of the witnesses Donald Trump  -- and a few of his House Republican enablers  -- want to appear.

As the Times notes, "While Democrats who control the House are focused on a swift impeachment vote by year’s end, the White House is almost entirely consumed by the trial that would follow in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Mr. Trump’s team believes he would have the chance to defend himself and where Democrats would almost certainly fall short of the two-thirds vote they would need to remove him from office."

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Ted Cruz hammered as ‘Putin’s stooge’ after humiliating himself on NBC to push Kremlin propaganda

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In a column for the Washington Post, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin in publically shamed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for his conversion from Cold War Russia critic to unabashed "Putin stooge" after his performance on "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Speaking with NBC host Chuck Todd on Sunday, Cruz attempted to push what has been described as Kremlin propaganda, asserting that "there is evidence of Ukraine interference in our election because an op-ed was written criticizing Trump’s campaign rhetoric about Ukraine." 

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