Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Olympic Zika Fallout

I have been hearing reports that a lot of golfers are refusing to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro because of fears of catching the Zika virus.  I thought, "Wow, that's astonishing!  
"Golf is in the Olympics now?"
Yes, and rugby too!  (Golf was last in the Olympics in 1904, and rugby was last in the Olympics in 1924.)
But a lot of athletes - and not just golfers (I don't know about the rugby players) are staying away from Rio due to fears of catching Zika.  Brazilian officials are downplaying the risk to athletes and spectators in Rio, pointing out the the Zika-carrying mosquitoes in the area should be dormant owing to the fact that it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere right now, as if the pollution and the overall dubiousness of cleanliness of the place weren't bad enough to warrant concerns.  
To think that if the United States Olympic Committee had gotten its act together much sooner than it did, the 2016 Olympics could have been in Chicago, and we could have all avoided this.  Then again, Michael Phelps may not have competed; his mother never said, "I want him to compete in 2016; I want to go to Chicago!"  Be that as it may, anyone who does go to Rio for this carnival of sport had better make sure their immunizations up to date and plenty of insect repellent for the trip.
And I offer the same advice to Debbie Phelps that I offered to Janet Evans last week: Don't drink the water.
Oh yeah, the first transmission of Zika in the U.S. that is not related to foreign travel occurred in southern Florida. Has anyone checked if Rick Scott vetoed any bills giving state assistance to Florida municipalities for moquito control lately? :p

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