World Health Organization Downplays Concerns About Zika at the 2016 Olympics


Yesterday, the World Health Organization released a statement aiming to address growing concerns about the effect of the Zika virus on the rapidly approaching 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero. “Based on current assessment, cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus,” the statement reads.

This comes quick on the heels of the open letter to the Director-General of the WHO, calling for the Olympics to be moved or postponed in response to the threat of the virus. The letter, which has been signed by over 175 scientists, professors and public health professionals, argues:

It is indisputable that…holding the Games as scheduled has a greater risk of accelerating the spread of the Brazilian viral strain than the alternatives. Postponing and/or moving the Games also mitigates other risks brought on by historic turbulence in Brazil’s economy, governance, and society at large—which are not isolated problems, but context that makes the Zika problem all but impossible to solve with the Games fast approaching.

This is all, of course, ignoring the other issue: Brazil’s “poop water:”

[h/t NPR]