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Opinion Pieces Discuss Funding For Zika Response, Potential Economic Costs Of Outbreak

Star Tribune: Congress shouldn’t raid Ebola dollars to fight Zika
Editorial Board

“…The sums [the U.S. government] set aside for Ebola should remain dedicated to preparing for future outbreaks. Raiding some or all of these dollars to fight Zika would undermine the nation’s readiness and potentially slow its response to a future Ebola outbreak. It could also result in the dollars dedicated to Zika falling well short of what is needed. … Numerous top health experts have testified before Congress about the need for rapid, robust Zika funding. Among them: Dr. Tom Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Much of the money would go to these agencies to help develop better diagnostic tests, treatments, and a Zika vaccine. … Frieden’s and Fauci’s medical expertise should be respected, not disregarded. House Republican leaders should have approved the Zika request. Congressional leaders … must correct this mistake as soon as possible” (2/23).

The Conversation: How do we know the Zika virus will cost the world $3.5 billion?
Jay L. Zagorsky, economist and research scientist at Ohio State University

“…The World Bank estimates Zika will cost the world US$3.5 billion in 2016. … How did the World Bank calculate this figure? How do we put a price tag on Zika and other health catastrophes like Ebola, dengue fever, or even more common problems like the flu? … In general, these figures are generated by adding together estimates of four categories of spending: direct outlays, lost productivity, loss from death, and the impact of avoidance…” (2/23).