Well anyone who is the least bit informed, even those who do nothing but watch celebrity news or occupy their precious time playing Pokemon-Go know that Zika has come to America. And know that my home state of Florida is ground zero.
While there are currently no locally acquired cases in the Tampa-Bay area, some ten cases have been reported in a one square mile section just north of Miami. It’s the rainy season here in Florida and any standing water is the perfect mosquito breeding ground.
Initially the only Zika cases in Florida were brought here by folks traveling to infected areas of the Caribbean or Latin America. Now however in north Miami we have locally acquired cases. Mosquitos have bitten persons infected with the virus acquired overseas and passesd it on to their off-spring which have now bitten uninfected persons.
It has been claimed that many Zika infected persons exhibit no symptoms which makes it difficult to determine exactly how many persons are infected.
It is of course most serious to pregnant women and expectant mothers causing the catastrophic life-long birth defect of microcephaly.
Pregnant women all over Florida are staying indoors, wearing long sleeves and slacks in 90 plus degree heat, racing from indoors to their cars, wearing mosquito repellent, avoiding the beaches and outdoors in general. Some have decided to leave the area and stay with relatives in unaffected areas of the state or country.
Florida state government has allocated $100 million to initiate spraying campaigns in the affected areas and is siphoning up standing water everywhere it can. Property owners have been urged to do the same. Additionally the state is offering free Zika blood testing for pregnant women at the state health centers.
The disease control establishments, government and private are frantically seeking a vaccine to combat the spread of the virus while urging funds from the Federal government for research and a war on mosquitos.
So what is our Republican-controlled Congress doing to combat the virus?
Shit. That’s what. Which is what they usually do. Last month Congress went on its long vacation (until after Labor Day in September) without passing the President’s request for funds to fight the Zika infestation.
And we in Florida (and all the southern states) can blame the Senate Majority Leader, the Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell who has proven himself to be a scumbag of the first rank.
President Barack Obama asked Congress for $1.9 billion in February to deal with the impending outbreak of Zika in the United States. Congress finally began working on the request in May, with the Senate passing a bipartisan compromise that was about $800 million short.
The bill got tanked in a partisan squabble last month after Republicans decided to add in contraception restrictions, a pro-Confederate flag provision allowing the flying of the Stars and Bars over national cemeteries, extra cuts to Obamacare and a measure to exempt pesticides from the Clean Water Act even though those pesticides don’t target Zika-carrying mosquitoes.
The bill to provide funds to fight Zika was a compromise to begin with being some $800 million short of the President’s request but Republicans had to take it hostage and screw with it further tacking on shit about the Confederate flag, bedroom contraception issues, one more swipe at Obamacare and one more attack on environmental regulations – all issues which would otherwise die for lack of support.
They then departed for a seven-week break while sending a sternly worded letter to Obama, saying he should take aggressive action to battle Zika using the $589 million the administration transferred from other programs, taken primarily from the ongoing Ebola response. What cajones.
Asked in an interview of WKYY “Kentucky Newsmakers” program over the weekend why voters shouldn’t see the inability to deal with Zika as evidence Congress is dysfunctional, McConnell said voters have a right to be angry ― at Democrats.
Asked further by WKYT’s Bill Bryant why Congress couldn’t “just have a clean Zika bill,” McConnell contended that all bills are at least a little dirty, saying that’s how Congress does things.
“No bills are completely clean,” McConnell said, implying that all legislation needs to be loaded down with partisan favors in order to pass. “They’re always a combination of interests because neither side is irrelevant. This is divided government. Both Democrats and Republicans have sway, have power to influence things.”
It wasn’t clear from McConnell’s remarks what he thought Democrats were getting in the Zika bill that Republicans found objectionable.
I guess he doesn’t think Republicans get Zika. More important to him are a few bullshit amendments on restricting contraception and flying the fukking Confederate flag in national cemeteries.
With at least 14 cases reported this week in south Florida the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned pregnant women to avoid travel to the area, and the Food and Drug Administration is restricting blood donations from there.
The Obama administration has transferred $589 million from other programs ― primarily fighting Ebola ― to deal with Zika. It warned Monday that the money for the Zika will begin running out this month, forcing health officials to delay development of a vaccine, unless Congress provides funding soon.
Congress is not due back at work until Sept. 6.
Neither McConnell nor House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has expressed any willingness to cut the long break short to pass Zika legislation, or to remove the riders.
Asked if he was optimistic that McConnell would listen, Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fl.) said McConnell probably would not until Zika is being spread in his own state.
“Realistically, no, because wait until a mosquito bites one of the people who is traveling to Kentucky, and then he gets a transmitted case in Kentucky, then we’ll get action,” Nelson said.
Any activist volunteers from Miami willing to spread Zika to Kentucky? Hehe.
And next time there is a natural catastrophe in Kentucky, a flood, tornado, a virus that kills their fukking race horses I will do my part.
I will make offerings to the gods for the good Christians of Kentucky who elect that bastard – but I will not send money. And I will urge my representatives to likewise remember.