August 10, 2016: ZIKA Concerns

~by Susi Pittman

Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott went to Washington D.C. May 11th to push for “emergency funds” to combat what he and many native Floridians foresaw as an ominous viral storm on the horizon named Zika, one which was about to hit the sunshine state. He and many of us saw that what was getting ready to happen would be an event that would rate up there with the worst hurricane disaster ever to hit Florida. One that would potentially cause loss of life, disability, economic loss, huge damage to the tourism industry and a change in the way that Floridians have lived their lives.

President Obama responded half-heartedly to our dear Governor with support, but made no real effort to push Congress forward in getting the funding to Florida promptly. That lazy sneer then signaled the Democrats in the House not to worry, and the deal to move funds was stalled and Congress was recessed for summer.

How convenient.

My personal favorite for just how “bored” and uninvolved the Obama Administration is, comes by way of a “let them eat cake” comment from White House press secretary, Josh Earnest who said; the region’s experience in fighting the bloodsucking insects will help efforts to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Oh, I see, just because we have dealt with a mosquito problem down through the ages, we ought to know what to do with this, ho-hum, situation.

Now, the CDC and the British government have both issued a travel advisory for the state of Florida. And count on that list to grow. This is the FIRST time, EVER the CDC has advised against travel to a continental US location.

Governor Scott, completely frustrated with the lack of ANY assistance for immediate funding to fight this blight, signed an executive order in June committing up to $26.2 million to combat the illness, going towards mosquito control, training for mosquito control employees, extra lab work and Zika prevention kits. This is literally like giving you $5 to bury a dead relative, when you know that it’s going to cost at least $5,000. It’s a Band Aid remedy until larger federal funding can finally find its way to Florida. At this time, the state’s funding has almost run out.

The main culprit in spreading the Zika virus is the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It does not like cold weather and makes its home across the southern United States. This little guy is also known to carry yellow and dengue fevers. This mosquito is very sneaky and is difficult to count or trap. They can breed anywhere!

U.S. Health officials have concluded that Zika infections in pregnant women can cause microcephaly in their babies. The World Health Organization strongly concludes that the Zika virus can also cause Guillain-Barre, a neurological syndrome causing temporary paralysis in adults. Adults are infected by mosquito bite or by human sexual transmission. And this is what we know at this point.

Can you believe, that something as horrific as this DID NOT get in the way of Congress taking their summer vacation????

We in Florida are uneasy. Our state is doing everything possible to address what could become not only a state viral outbreak but, indeed a regional outbreak across the Gulf Coast states. We have questions.

How will businesses protect their employees? How will tourist destinations protect their visitors? How many hundreds of thousands of lives are endangered?

In the presence of an impending widespread outbreak, how will all Florida’s businesses implement some type of continuity and response, certain to be coping with a major increase in the number of employees working from home or unable to work, and addressing business strategy and operational impacts due to substantial changes to the marketplace and supply chain?

Governor Scott, I’m with you! I too am frustrated. But, more importantly, I believe that Washington and our senators and representatives see us, the people of the great state of Florida as merely a product.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ~Edmund Burke

The only thing necessary for the expansion of the Zika virus is the Congress of the United States!


Susi Pittman is founder of and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; a member of the St. John’ s Catholic Writers Guild;
a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the National Wildlife Federation, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.



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