Doctors urge postponing Rio Olympics over worldwide Zika epidemic
“Is it really morally responsible to bring 500,000 people to Ground Zero and then send them off to their merry way and see what happens?”
The rate at which Zika virus became one of the biggest health concerns today have experts worried over the upcoming summer Olympics, which will be held in Rio, Brazil in August this year.
Former NY State Lieutenant Gov. Betsy McCaughey said on John Catsimatidis’ radio program, “If you were going to design a method to take a very severe disease and spread it worldwide really quickly…you would hold an event at the epicenter of that disease—Brazil—and invite 500,000 people to attend.”
Meanwhile, according to Republican Representative Michael Burgess, allowing half a million athletes and observers into the epicenter of the Zika epidemic would be a “terrible human experiment.”
“Is it really wise, is it really morally responsible to bring 500,000 people to Ground Zero and then send them off to their merry way and see what happens?” he said in a WFAA report. “That is a terrible, terrible human experiment to conduct."
Meanwhile, The World Health Organisation will be holding meetings in the following weeks to reexamine the consequences of hosting the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“The Emergency Committee meeting will consider the situation in Brazil, including the question of the Olympics,” said a WHO spokeswoman Nyka Alexander.
However, she said that “it is not within our mandate” to make decisions on holding the Olympic Games.
The dreaded Zika virus
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito.”
Many people who have the virus do not necessarily get sick enough to go to the hospital, and rarely do infected people die from it. As a result, many are not aware that they are infected.
The virus is especially dangerous for women, because infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly (characterised by babies born with small heads), as well as other severe fetal brain defects.