The herpes virus has been around humans for millions of years. How significant has it been over the ages as a cause of infant mortality? I don’t know. If the infant Jesus was subject to metzitzah B-peh, he survived - as did the practice. In modern NYC, “[b]ased on cases reported to DOHMH during April 2006–December 2011, the risk for neonatal herpes caused by HSV-1 and untyped HSV following Jewish ritual circumcision with confirmed or probable direct orogenital suction in New York City was estimated at 1 in 4,098 or 3.4 times greater than the risk among male infants considered unlikely to have had direct orogenital suction.” Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infection Following Jewish Ritual Circumcisions that Included Direct Orogenital Suction — New York City, 2000–2011
It is likely that several of the cases were due to one mohel, who was banned from conducting the practice. (How will this be enforced?) Circumcision itself - whether done by religious ritual or in hospital has been a cause of death (by blood loss or sepsis) among infant boys - though I have not found statistics easy to find. (There are “studies” put out by anti-circumcision activists which are too hyped to be believable).
What’s disturbing about this (10 year-old) story - is not “cannibalism” or sexual child abuse or even anti-semitism (the mayoral candidates were questioned by the Jewish Press forum), it is that there are still so many people living superstitiously. Circumcision may have health benefits - where FGM has none - but why is it still practiced in America (by Jews and many more gentiles) at all? Has the routine practice of circumcision made the idea of trans-surgery on teenagers easier to accept? Sexual transitioning is another religious (irrational) ritual. Modern technology doesn’t replace religious ritualistic practice, it just makes it more efficient and hygienic. The abandonment of circumcision or trans-surgery would be a sign of actual “progress” in rational thinking. It is astonishing to witness how primitive religious/superstitious thinking, which has always coexisted with the scientific thinking that made it possible for mankind to develop technologically, is once again ascendant. Our professional classes and intellectuals are the new shamans.