It’s nearly impossible to tune into the news without hearing the Zika virus mentioned at least once or twice. Since Zika officially spread into the Americas in February 2016, the public has become increasingly frantic about the implications of the Zika virus and its effects on our health. These most recent occurrences indicate that Zika won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon.
The Question of the Olympics
Rio de Janeiro has been preparing to host the 2016 summer olympics for years, and now mosquitos are threatening to overturn the biggest event of the season. It began when ticket sales remained sluggish and Olympic officials had to brainstorm ways to incentivize the purchase of tickets. But the situation worsened at the end of May when a group of scientists, bioethicists, and doctors released a statement calling for the games to be postponed or moved due to Zika threats.
The World Health Organization (WHO) quickly responded by saying there is “no public health justification” for altering Rio’s Olympic plans, but many people in the public aren’t satisfied. The Zika outbreak in the Americas started in Brazil in 2015, and since then almost 100,000 cases have been reported. The WHO acknowledged this and responded with reminders of wearing mosquito spray, long sleeves, and pants while attending the Olympics. As of now the Olympics are still on, but more controversy is sure to ensue.
Zika Continues to Spread
Americans were once largely oblivious to the Zika virus, but it is now spreading, with over 500 known cases in the U.S. alone. Officials are warning of an imminent spread on a larger scale within the next month, urging for “forceful preparation” to minimize the damage. The existing cases in the US are mainly travel related, but there is fear that local infections will grow. President Obama has responded by asking Congress for $1.9 billion in emergency funding.