Olympic Games 2016 Boycott: New York Official Warns Olympics Will Spur Worldwide Zika Virus Epidemic
Experts have warned the consequences of the upcoming Olympic Games in Brazil, the point of origin of the Zika virus outbreak. Public health experts believe that the Olympics would lead to more brain-damaged newborns due to Zika.
New York State Lieutenant Gov. Betsy McCaughey said 500,000 people are expected to attend the Olympic Games, which will be held from August 5 until August 21. With Brazil considered as the Zika outbreak's ground zero, it's only a matter before the virus will spread in the United States and all over the world, NY Daily News reported.
Obama's Proposal Criticized
McCaughey has criticized President Barack Obama's plan, which proposes to redirect $500 million from unspent Ebola virus funding towards combating Zika in South America. Ebola funds that remain unused are worth $1.4 billion, according to the Washington Post.
According to McCaughey, it's better if the money and resources will be used to "arm local health departments" in the southern U.S., an area where Zika is expected to spread more quickly due to its warm climate. Aedes mosquitoes, which are carriers of Zika, thrive in warm conditions.
Pushing Through With Olympics 2016 Is A 'Terrible Human Experiment'
Republican Representative Michael Burgess said allowing half a million athletes and spectators to visit Brazil for the Olympics in the midst of the Zika outbreak would be a "terrible human experiment," WFAA reported. Burgess is doubtful over whether pushing through with the Olympic Games is wise and morally responsible.
Zika is most harmful to pregnant women, who can transfer the virus to their unborn child. Affected babies are born with eye damages and microcephaly, a congenital condition where infants have abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development. Recent reports found that males affected with Zika can infect others with the virus through unprotected sex.
The World Health Organization said it will hold meetings in the coming weeks to reexamine the dangers of hosting the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, did not increase or change the travel warnings issued for the country, WFAA noted. Some broadcast staffers and athletes have already withdrawn from the Olympics 2016 because of the Zika threat.
WHO spokeswoman Nyka Alexander said the organization doesn't have the mandate for canceling or delaying the Olympic Games and they only make risk assessments of the Zika outbreak, Medical Daily reported (via Reuters). The International Olympics Committee, or IDC, will be the one to decide if the Olympics will push through in Brazil in August.