US Opinion and Commentary

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This Is how the U.S. Must Lead the Fight Against Zika

Posted July 19th, 2016 at 12:18 pm (UTC-4)
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The world is not mounting a sufficient operational response to Zika in the South and Central American countries that are at risk. Brazil, Colombia and other nations are not applying the scale of resources required to rapidly reduce transmission. Within a year, Puerto Rico could have hundreds of cases of microcephaly, leading to disastrous consequences…

Cancel the Olympics

Posted June 22nd, 2016 at 4:20 pm (UTC-4)
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[M]ore than 10,500 athletes, coaches and trainers will have descended on Rio de Janeiro…more than 500,000 foreign spectators are expected….they will be exposing themselves to the Zika-carrying mosquitos…If you were a bioterrorist trying to expose as many of the world’s population as possible, I doubt you could come up with a better plan than this.

Zika Is Coming, but We’re Far From Ready

Posted May 23rd, 2016 at 1:02 pm (UTC-4)
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Zika is not “coming” to the United States: It is already here….It is not a question of whether babies will be born in the United States with Zika-related microcephaly — it is a question of when and how many.

Zika’s Budget Bite

Posted May 19th, 2016 at 6:03 pm (UTC-4)
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While there is near unanimity about the dangers posed by the Zika virus, there’s a political split over funding the fight against it.
President Barack Obama sent Congress a request in February for $1.9 billion in emergency funding “to respond to Zika virus transmission across the United States and internationally.”
Tuesday, the Senate approved a $1.1 billion Zika funding measure. Late Wednesday, the House of Representatives said yes to $622 million, a little more than half of what the Senate passed and about one-third of what the President asked. The White House says it will continue to press for its full request.
As the two houses of Congress try to find common ground on how much to spend, the disease is already making inroads into U.S. territory.
On Friday, a pregnant Puerto Rican woman’s fetus was determined to have developed microcephaly, the birth defect associated with Zika, becoming the first American so diagnosed.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control estimates hundreds of thousands in Puerto Rico will be infected by the Zika virus this year.
There will be more. Summer travel plans are being changed. Decisions to send young American athletes to the Olympics in Brazil are being scrutinized. And some couples are questioning whether it’s a good time to get pregnant.
All of that will be part of the political calculations of a public health crisis going forward.

The GOP Congress Must Stop Hurting the Zika Fight

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 12:39 pm (UTC-4)
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Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell told us this week that, although the administration has already shifted about half a billion dollars from fighting Ebola to the battle against Zika, that is not enough….Without full emergency funding, she said, research on creating a vaccine and work on badly needed diagnostics will slow…