Thrive’s coverage of the Zika virus is well documented. Last winter we led the pack in educating our loyal following about Zika’s impact. You may recall Dr. Campbell’s first appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show was an invitation to provide insight on the virus.
Since then, Zika has become a hot topic. Media outlets far and wide have enlisted the assistance of medical professionals to discuss the potentially devastating consequences of an outbreak. Isolated incidents from one country to the next have left native citizens on edge. Precautionary measures have been taken the world over.
And yet, the world’s largest international spectacle, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil loom precariously on the calendar – just two short months from the opening ceremonies.
Over Memorial Day weekend, one of international basketball’s biggest names, Pau Gasol, indicated his concern over the virus may result in his skipping the Olympic games altogether. This would not only damage Spanish competitive hopes in a sport they are expected to contend for a medal, but also add to the growing list of recognizable stars considering bowing out.
Hope Solo, the goalkeeper for the United States women’s soccer team expressed concern similar to that of Gasol. In another recent development, Francisco Rodriguez, a Venezuelan pitcher for the Detroit Tigers described his experience with the virus. Says Rodriguez, “It wasn’t a cold, trust me….You don’t have a cold for two weeks, you don’t have a body ache for two weeks, you don’t have headaches, throwing up, weaknesses for two weeks.”
While most of what’s been reported to date has centered around pregnant women and the possibility of their child contracting microcephaly (a birth defect that leaves babies with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains), the virus may very well have deeper consequences.
What, then, is Brazil doing to ensure the safety of its global participants? In mere weeks athletes from all over the world will descend upon the nation with plans to represent their country to the best of their abilities. Millions upon millions will watch and cheer. Gold medals will be celebrated, and national anthems will play as citizens beam with pride.
But still, the ever-present Zika concerns linger. Roughly 500,00 visitors are expected to make the trip to Brazil – a nation that happens to be mired in its own political soap opera (their President was recently impeached). And for well over a year, there has been grave concern over the state of the polluted waterways scheduled for use with many outdoor competitions. Is Brazil really prepared for all this?
Perhaps we’ll look back years from now with nothing more than a roll of the eyes. Maybe our fears are overblown and won’t amount to any widespread issue. On the other hand, if more could have been done, if different steps could have been taken to avoid putting many individual’s health at risk, we may look back through a very different lense.
So let’s hope for the best, while preparing for the worst by taking recommended precautions to heart. Because it really is better to be safe than sorry.