Opinion Pieces Discuss U.S. Zika Response, Call On Congress To Act

USA TODAY: Zika hits home while Congress fiddles: Column
Michele Barry, director, and Katherine States Burke, deputy director, both of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University

“…As this [Zika] crisis unfolds, where is Congress? On vacation. … On this important health matter, Congress has failed us. Its political concerns pale beside the prospect of hundreds of babies born with severe birth defects … In addition, absent the public health campaign that the [Zika] bill would have funded, media and social networks will no doubt ignite outsized public fears, as we saw with the Ebola threat. … Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have called for the House and Senate to return to Washington and reconvene on an urgent basis to provide the Zika funding. Republican leadership should join the effort. Funding the battle against Zika is imperative, and the American people are watching and waiting” (8/2).

Forbes: Confronting The Growing Risk From Zika
Scott Gottlieb, physician and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute

“…Putting in place the infrastructure to thwart Zika and similar mosquito-born risks … should encompass five principles. First, better diagnostics to rapidly and accurately detect new infections; second, programs to collect and test mosquitoes to identify emerging outbreaks early; next vigilant mosquito abatement, and common sense consumer precautions; and finally, a rejection of the impulse to magnify and misrepresent these events for political gain, which can — over time — dull public interest by conflating real and amplified risks. … We should not have to treat our response to each outbreak as a new disaster, and lurch from one crisis to the next. … We can’t afford to play catch-up every time a new infection appears. The policy and infrastructure should already be in place” (8/4).

The Hill: Doctors to Congress: Stop politics and fund Zika outbreak
Mary E. Norton, president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

“…[T]he response by the government [to the Zika virus] at home and abroad is essential to ensure that Americans are protected and that this devastating disease is eradicated before more babies are impacted. … It is critical that the U.S. fund efforts to eradicate this virus. … It is far more effective for Congress to support infectious disease surveillance and research broadly through consistent annual appropriations, and to avert these urgent and unpredictable situations in the future. Given the potential for rapid global transmission of the Zika virus, it is imperative that the U.S. act quickly and that leaders on each side of the aisle, on both sides of the Capitol come together immediately when they return in September to hash out a deal for funding to combat Zika. Funding research and public health surveillance now will help to save dollars as well as lives” (8/3).

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