Elliot: What’s a Niue?


Remember measles? Me, neither.

Remember when Ebola-mania swept every corner of the country, and it turned out that the outbreak was thousands of miles away, on the other side of a fairly major body of water? Now, Ebola seems so January, if not so 20th century.

So, no wonder we don’t remember measles. And vaccines.

I, at least, have an excuse: San Diego Fox News 5.

Ah, yes, Fox News, the cure for measles. Or at least thinking about measles. (If you think about measles too much, you get all these tiny red spots all over your brain.)

Apparently, on or around Valentine’s Day, ran a story about a rape suspect, and to illustrate the story behind the anchorwoman reporting, ran a photo of President Obama with the caption “No Charges.” (Yes, Virginia, that President Obama.)

The Fox News 5 people probably thought that was hilarious. You know, Obama-rape, rape-Obama. I’m still chuckling.

But, in truth, I think the Fox News 5 people probably had measles as children and the tiny red spots all over their brains never went away.

I mean, that’s almost as funny as the Alabama congressman who recently claimed that aliens (as in immigrants, not as in flying saucers, but with Alabama congressmen, you never know) caused the measles outbreak in the U.S. That would be Rep. Mo Brooks, who is, as luck or measles would have it, a Republican.

The interesting thing, as Think Progress points out, is that Central American countries have higher measles-vaccination rates than the U.S. We sit at 92 percent; Mexico (99 percent), Nicaragua (99 percent), Panama (98 percent), Belize (96 percent), Guatemala (93 percent), Honduras (93 percent), and El Salvador (93 percent).

What’s more, it turns out that 108 countries in the world have better measles-vaccination rates than the U.S. It’s as if Jenny McCarthy fever is sweeping every corner of this country (well, at least our corners aren’t dusty).

Think Progress has put together a small list: Uzbekistan, Niue, Eritrea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea; yes, that North Korea), all at 99 percent. At 98 percent, Kyrgyzstan. Tanzania and Rwanda chip in at 97 percent, and Vietnam and Bangladesh sit at 96 percent. Gambia (95 percent) and Tajikistan (94 percent) follow, with Kenya, Cambodia, and Burundi each at 93 percent. Then the United States at 92 percent.

Apparently, all those people have never heard of Jenny McCarthy. How do they survive? (Hint: They don’t get measles.)

Niue, you ask? What’s a Niue?

It’s a small (100 square miles) island in the South Pacific some 2,400 miles northeast of New Zealand. It seems, just looking at a map, to be more or less in area of Tonga and American Samoa, in the sense that, given the size of the planet, Iowa City is in the area of Detroit. 

(Drive there some time and see just how much in the area of Detroit Iowa City is.)

Niue was also, in 2003, the first nation in the world to offer free Wi-Fi to the entire country. Yet another category in which the United States trails Niue. Hmm.   

Ah, measles. Ah, Americans. Remember when DeflateGate swept every corner, etc.?

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