Rio’s Troubled Olympics
In August, some 500,000 sports fans will descend upon Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
When they arrive it will be to a current in a state of crisis.
- Economic Crisis
Brazil is the 8th largest economy in the world, but its economy has shrunk 7 of the last 9 quarters including the last 4.
- Political Crisis
Brazil is in the middle of a political tempest as it just impeached its President Dilma Rousseff.
- Drug Violence
There also has been a marked increase in gang violence in Rio’s infamous slums.
Now there comes a call by over 180 physicians, bioethicists, scientists and others from around the world to postpone or move the Olympics from Rio due to the Zika virus. The group have sent a letter to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan demanding that:
WHO must revisit the question of Zika and postponing and/or moving the Games. Similar to what FIFA did for SARS and the Women’s World Cup, we recommend that WHO convene an independent group to advise it and the IOC in a transparent, evidence-based process in which science, public health, and the spirit of sport come first. Given the public health and ethical consequences, not doing so is irresponsible.
WHO has rejected the call saying there is”no public health justification for postponing or cancelling the games.”
As Vox recently explained, the call to postpone or relocate the Games is:
very likely misguided. According to the best available evidence, the chance of any visitor to Brazil catching Zika at this year’s Summer Olympics is extremely low. And it’s not even the infectious disease most likely to be an issue at these games.
Nonetheless, the CDC has issued the following advisory for the Games: