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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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Wisconsin GOP plots to strip Democratic governor of more power — a day after forcing voters to stand outside in a pandemic

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This week, Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature have faced national fury after their successful lawsuits blocking Democratic Gov. Tony Evers from delaying the election and extending absentee voting.

But just one day after tens of thousands of voters were forced to stand in public lines and risk COVID-19 exposure just to exercise their constitutional right to vote, the Wisconsin GOP found yet another way to weaponize the pandemic for partisan gain.

According to Molly Beck of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Republicans in the legislature have slipped a provision into the state's relief bill authorizing unemployment disbursement under the federal CARES Act, that would allow the state's Finance Committee to make budget cuts without input from Evers — stripping him of power at exactly the moment when the public would be looking to the governor for help.

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CDC quietly deletes hydroxychloroquine guidance as study hyped by Trump comes into question

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday quietly removed bizarre guidelines for using the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for the new coronavirus. The unproven treatment has been repeatedly hyped by President Donald Trump in spite of the warnings of Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The CDC published "highly unusual" dosing guidance based on "unattributed anecdotes rather than peer-reviewed science" last month amid pressure on federal health officials from Trump, Reuters reported. The agency now appears to have quietly removed those guidelines from its website this week.

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‘Complete nonsense’: CNN’s Daniel Dale blows up Trump’s lie that California admitted to widespread voter fraud

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," fact-checker Daniel Dale dismantled President Donald Trump's claim, repeated at the day's coronavirus press conference, that a lawsuit proved a million people voted illegally in California.

"He had a voter fraud commission that was disbanded without producing any such evidence," Dale told anchor Erin Burnett. "This is complete nonsense ... the specific lie was about a California settlement with a conservative group called Judicial Watch."

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