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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss U.S. Response To Zika Virus

Wall Street Journal: Zika and the Democrats
Editorial Board

“The Zika virus is only beginning to hit the U.S. mainland, but its political exploitation is already an epidemic. … The White House that is responsible for public health is trying to blame Congress while ducking its own failures. … [T]he administration continues to insist it needs more money even though it can’t spend the money it has fast enough. … [T]he root cause of Washington’s Zika pathology is Democrats who are exploiting the virus to score political points” (8/2).

Wall Street Journal: There’s No Panacea for the Zika Epidemic
Henry I. Miller, founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology and research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

“…[In July,] Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, predicted that developing and stockpiling the [Zika] vaccine would take only 18 months to two years. Count me skeptical. There are numerous reasons — scientific, technical, regulatory, and economic — that the horizon for a Zika vaccine is probably much more distant. … [P]ublic health authorities should focus on controlling the mosquitoes that transmit Zika, a task that the feds have badly fumbled. A British company called Oxitec has created genetically modified male mosquitoes whose offspring self-destruct before reaching maturity. Despite successful field trials in a number of foreign countries, tests in the Florida Keys have been held up for years by the FDA’s regulatory review. Maybe, now that Zika is loose in Miami, the bureaucrats will finally feel a sense of urgency to do their job” (8/2).

Slate: Florida’s Zika Outbreak Was Expected
Marc Siegel, professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at New York University’s Langone Medical Center

“…Why are we alarmed by Zika in Florida but not in Puerto Rico? … Whatever the reason, we need to counter a misapprehension of risk with sober facts. … In Puerto Rico … hundreds if not thousands of pregnant women have been exposed and will need to be monitored closely for signs of the virus. … [CDC Director Tom] Frieden is right to be alarmed at the ostrich approach to Zika prevention and containment in Puerto Rico. The cultural response to Zika couldn’t be more different between the continental U.S. and one of its important territories. Here, we tend to imagine the worst and are preoccupied with exaggerated risks. The operative response to a new outbreak of Zika in Florida is irrational fear, whereas in Puerto Rico it is irrational denial. Both reactions can lead to ineffective responses. Instead, what is required is a calm consideration of facts and careful implementation of public health strategies” (8/2).

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