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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss U.S. Role In Zika Response

Wall Street Journal: Democrats’ Zika Obstruction
Editorial Board

“Senate Democrats have taken their latest political hostages, and this time they’re pregnant women at risk for Zika virus infections. After demanding immediate emergency funding for months, they walked out on their own bill on Thursday to use the issue as a campaign bludgeon against Republicans. … [The number of Zika infections is] certain to rise in the summer months, not least because Congress has left town for the conventions and mosquito season without passing funding. Democrats seem to think that cost is worth it if they can turn the public health crisis into a partisan talking point through November” (7/15).

CNN: Could Zika be the next HIV?
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…A recent poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that two-thirds of Americans have heard of Zika, which means an alarming third of the population knows nothing about the disease, and is unlikely to take precautions against infection. Fewer still — less than half — were aware that Zika could be passed sexually. … [T]ime is running out. Researchers desperately need funding to provide the tools required to forestall a sexually transmitted Zika epidemic in the United States. In the absence of those tools, women will make difficult choices, deferring pregnancies for months, perhaps years, and seeking abortions. The stalemate on Capitol Hill may actually increase the likelihood that more American babies will be born with terrible malformations and neurological deficits. And, equally horribly, that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of couples will seek abortions based on suspicion of Zika infection, possibly terminating some healthy pregnancies” (7/15).

Washington Post: This is how the U.S. must lead the fight against Zika
Michael Gerson and Raj Shah, senior fellows with Results for America

“…The fight against Zika requires global leadership to coordinate a coherent, multi-country strategy committed to measurable outcomes, relentless innovation, and making good use of data. Only the U.S. government has shown the ability to lead that effort. Bush fought the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa with a successful, evidence-based strategy. Obama demonstrated leadership by successfully investing U.S. resources to fight Ebola and creating a global health security partnership with countries around the world. On health issues such as HIV/AIDS and Ebola, U.S. leadership — our science, technical skill, compassion, and political will — has been essential to changing the course of history. On Zika, important preparations, including with federal and state authorities, are ongoing. But a heightened global focus is required to make all our efforts effective. This requires Congress to return from its recess and pass a meaningful funding bill. Each of these pandemics demonstrates how our interests as Americans and our values as the world’s truly exceptional nation lead us in the same direction: to fight with urgency and ambition for the health of the world” (7/17).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.