The death of an elderly man in Puerto Rico marked an ominous milestone for the Zika virus in the United States.A Zika infection is usually not life threatening, but it may spread from a pregnant woman to the baby.This may resulting microcephaly and other severe brain problems.
“This is a public health emergency.That is what our public health experts have told us.”
The White House has requested nearly 2 billion in emergency funding to target the mosquito that carries Zika and promote the development of a vaccine.The Republican-led Congress has yet to act.
“We should at least have a plan from the administration for how the money is going to be spent.There is no plan; it is a blank check.”
Democrats note Congress approved larger sums with relative speed to fight Ebola and the H1N1 flu.
“If they will not give the experts the resources they need to combat Zika, what do they propose?”
We could ask the Zika mosquitos–the Zika-carrying mosquitos, we could ask them: Do not breed this year.”
“There is a public health menace. There is a crisis.We have a responsibility to protect the people from it. Do your job, Congress.”
With no new funds on the immediate horizon, the Obama administration is transferring unspent money intended for Ebola to the fight against Zika virus.Republicans say the maneuver buys time for a better understanding of how future funds will be spent.
“So we are going to stay on top of this.We need to find a vaccine. About 600 million is out the door.We still need answers to questions about where it is going.”
The White House insists the transferred Ebola money is insufficient and time is of the essence.
“We cannot fund the fight against Zika a few months at a time.In order to effectively, for example, develop and test and manufacture a vaccine that can be used to protect more than 300 million American citizens, that is a multiyear effort that we are talking about.”
U.S. officials believe the Zika-carrying mosquito could spread to at least 30 U.S. states.