Congressional Republicans Might Cause This Deadly Virus To Overwhelm U.S.

There has been a minor war brewing in Congress since February that the media has not received as much attention as it needs to. Many Republicans are refusing to support President Obama’s plan to prevent millions of deaths from the Zika virus, an epidemic that has swept through South America and could enter into the continental United states any day now.

In February 2016, The World Health Organization officially declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. That’s when President Obama announced a plan to spend $1.9 billion dollars to halt the spread of the virus before it reaches the United States and the rest of North America.

Below is a map released by the White House that shows how the virus can spread throughout the United States.

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The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites. Specifically, Aedes mosquitos. which are often found in urban areas, are to blame for the spread of the virus. When a person contracts the Zika virus, the symptoms are usually fairly mild. Those who are infected experience pain in their joints, headaches, and pain behind the eyes. Symptoms usually persist for a few weeks and then go away. Usually, a person who becomes infected with the virus becomes immune to the disease in the future. There is no cure for the disease. Historically, there have not been any incidents of the Zika virus being a fatal. However, since the outbreak, deaths have been linked to the virus – one of which was in Puerto Rico.

Even though symptoms are mild for the average person, everything changes if a pregnant woman contracts the virus. That’s where the disease reveals its true power to destroy lives. The Zika virus can cause a fetus to develop what is called fetal development disruption sequence. What happens is that the brain of the fetus stops growing, or is severely scared, which leads to brain damage and conditions such as microcephaly. A condition where an infant’s head is much smaller than it should be, sometimes “as small as an orange” according to NPR.

As it was pointed out in an opinion piece published in the New York Times, the fact that Republicans are willing are not willing to take immediate action to stop the virus is incredibly hypocritical when you consider they tried to blame the 2014 Ebola outbreak on the president.

It should be noted that not all Republicans are willing to risk the nation’s health over petty budget squabbles. Senator Marco Rubio has publicly lambasted his fellow Republicans for stalling.  Rubio was quoted as saying, “The money is going to be spent. And the question is, do we do it now before this has become a crisis, or do we wait for it to become a crisis?” Rubio has good reasons to plead for urgency on the matter. Gulf states will be among the first and hardest hit by the Zika when and if it reaches the continental United States, including Rubio’s home state of Florida. If only, Rubio had the same mentality when it came to other crises such as climate change.

So once again, we find ourselves with a Congress controlled by neoconservatives who have neither the compassion to do what is right and act to save lives, as well as the lack of fiscal wisdom to understand that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. These types of battles are what are what legitimizes Brand New Congress’s mission to scout out and support Democrats and progressive Republicans (Yes, they do exist. It’s pragmatic to accept that there are seats Dems are never going to be able to take.) in elections to make a Congress that functions. Or at least one that functions well enough that they can decide that the future of the United States shouldn’t look like an episode of The Walking Dead.


Featured image from (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)