Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Congress’s Role In U.S. Response To Zika Virus

Tampa Bay Times: Editorial: Congress should go back to work to fight Zika
Editorial Board

“…Health officials continue to combat the [Zika] virus using modest amounts of money from other sources. [Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R)] continues to implore Washington to act, and Florida’s two senators, [Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D)], are united in their call for urgency. Meanwhile, the CDC recently told pregnant women flat-out to avoid the Miami neighborhood where Zika is spreading through mosquito bites. … If the threat to the state’s bottom line can’t spur action, do Florida’s … Zika patients … constitute enough of a crisis to free up money? That’s the only way, after all, to fight Zika: with money. Spraying insecticides, educating the public, treating the sick, studying the virus, and developing a vaccine are expensive propositions. Continuing to ignore a serious public health crisis is exponentially more costly” (8/5).

Quartz: If Zika spreads in the U.S., blame the politicians, not the mosquitoes
Benjamin Spoer, PhD student at NYU’s Global College of Public Health

“…As it stands, there will be no federal funding to combat Zika, at least until lawmakers return from their summer recess. Not because Zika funding itself is controversial, but because legislators decided the epidemic was a chance to push their political agendas. … Part of the reason politicians can get away with this is because Zika primarily affects poor people. … [Last] week, Obama’s former Ebola czar called on Congress to return from its summer recess, put politics aside, and pass the Zika funding bill. This would enable the CDC and local health departments to get the funding they need to research a vaccine, control the mosquito population, and educate people on how to reduce their risks. But until Congress acts, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden predicts the country will be fighting Zika with ‘one hand tied behind our backs'” (8/7).

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