The first United States death from Zika virus was reported on Friday. The case was “involving a man from Puerto Rico,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. The Zika Virus was behind a declared “Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” effective under the World Health Organization as of February 1, 2016. Of course, saying, oh, it’s Puerto Rico, is wrong. People do travel, you know.
The Zika Virus is a rapidly spreading pathogen that’s most recognizable feature is the effect it has on the unborn. Babies born to mothers infected commonly suffer from “microcephaly.” Microcephaly, according to the Mayo Clinic, is “a rare neurological condition in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age and sex… [it] usually is the result of the brain developing abnormally in the womb or not growing as it should after birth.” You can find an image to help elaborate on the condition below.
So, there is a global health crisis. Literally tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of cases have been reported, across the world. What do we do about it? According to you know, common sense, we enact public health safeguards against the virus. Sure, it’s not “lethal,” and this is the first of not many expected deaths from it, but do we really want babies born with microcephaly?
Well, evidently, yes. At least, yes, according to the parts of our government controlled by the GOP. President Obama has requested “nearly $2 Billion in emergency funding,” but the GOP and comrades in Congress have “balked at the figure.”
In other words, they said no. They said no to providing funding so that children are not born affected with this condition. They said no to providing funding so that mothers and fathers do not have to feel the pain of having a child who suffers from this condition.
In response, the country continues to “balk” at the GOP. The party has about zero chance of clinching the presidency come November.
Why should they? Americans aren’t stupid. And they ask the legitimate question: How could any person deny health care funding? Eh, it’s nothing, really. In the GOP’s world, healthcare is totally optional. You just live and die “cuz god said” and that’s that.
The virus is so dangerous that it is affecting the Summer Olympics. To be held in a few months in Brazil, some athletes, like golfer Vijay Singh, have outright canceled their involvement. (Brazil has had almost 100,000 cases reported.) The entire South Korean squad has revealed that it will be wearing “anti-Zika” uniforms. Pregnant women or those who may become pregnant have been encouraged to avoid the festivities.
In other words, it is a serious public health emergency. Still, as long as the Congressmen get their paychecks, the virus warrants no notice from them, at least among those who are Republicans. As might be said on social media, smfh.