Unreliable funding of public health agencies exposes communities unnecessarily to threats like the Zika virus. An always-prepared national public health system requires sustained support, not the same old political theater.
Special to The Times
THE debate over how to respond to the Zika virus has produced some of the most dramatic political theater seen in Congress since the Ebola outbreak in 2014. It’s an edge-of-your seat drama, and Washington, D.C.,’s media brain trust knows it: a mysterious, life-threatening virus with tropical origins, high stakes for American families and a national leadership at war over how to deal with it.
The international medical community found that Zika causes microcephaly, a debilitating brain defect in fetuses that can prevent a child from ever walking or talking. While the U.S. Congress is making progress, it still has not adopted the emergency funding requested by the White House in February. Instead, the federal government just cut health departments’ emergency-preparedness budgets by 7 percent.