I recently reported that 15 states have now officially reported cases of the measles to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak is the second highest in number since 2014.

Now, 19 states have reported cases, with a total of 465 infected, mostly school-age children.

Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts and Nevada reported their first cases of measles this year, bringing the total number of states reporting cases to 19. The other states that have reported measles cases this year are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

The total number of measles cases nationwide this year “is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000,” the CDC says. That threshold was reached last week when the national total for the year surpassed last year’s total of 372. The largest outbreak was in 2014, when there were 667 cases reported nationwide due to several large outbreaks.

The spread of the highly contagious disease has led New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to declare a public health emergency and order mandatory vaccinations in several neighborhoods.

The order applies to anyone living, working or going to school in four zip codes in Williamsburg and requires all non-vaccinated people who may have been exposed receive the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including all children over 6 months old.

Those zip codes are 11205, 11206, 11221 and 11249.

Under the mandatory vaccinations, members of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will check the vaccination records of any person who may have been in contact with infected patients. The city can’t legally physically force someone to get a vaccination, but those who have not received the MMR vaccine or do not have evidence of immunity may be given a violation and could be fined $1,000.

Those neighborhoods are highly observant Jewish communities. One parent indicated the order was “too little, too late”.

“$1,000 fines are a joke,” said one Hasidic father, who asked that his name not be shared in order to protect his privacy. “Lives are at risk.”

The father, whose son attends yeshiva in Williamsburg, was also skeptical of the city’s ability to enforce Monday’s Commissioner’s Orders forbidding area yeshivas from admitting unvaccinated students.

“When the outbreak started a few months ago, they should have literally shut down every noncompliant yeshiva,” he said. The father added that some of his neighbors in the community felt distrustful of the city government and secular doctors, complicating the outreach efforts mounted by the city and community leaders.

The mayor may have an uphill battle, in attempting to enforce compliance with the emergency order.

…Gitty, 28, who’s also an Orthodox Jew, said, “I don’t think it’s up to the city to mandate such things.”

“God created all humans perfectly. My children are perfect and beautiful,” the mother of five said.

“It’s my religious belief. I will never put anything in my child to alter their immune system.”

Additionally, NYC health officials warned parents against holding “measles parties”.

[New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot] added that she doesn’t want more individuals exposed to measles because of the practice.

“There are many more individuals who are living with chronic diseases, who are surviving cancer, and so we don’t want children or adults to be unnecessarily exposed to measles,” she said.

Truly, NYC is the “city that never sleeps”…because of all the itching. Here’s to hoping enough get vaccinated to re-establish “herd immunity” and none of the infected suffer death or serious health consequences.