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Monday, January 30, 2023


Focus Friday: Zika bill finally funded

After 233 days in limbo, Congress has finally passed a bill to fund the fight against Zika. President Barack Obama requested $1.9 billion in aid back in February and was finally granted $1.1 billion as part of a stopgap to avoid a government shutdown.

Cases continued to pop up both worldwide and across the U.S. while Congress sat on their hands for eight months.

For this “Focus Friday,” The Cougar’s opinion desk will discuss the government’s decision and determine whether it was “too little, too late.”

Senior staff columnist Caprice Carter

As usual, Congress has taken their time and passed a bill that should have been a priority — considering that citizens’ health is being compromised.

Over 23,000 cases of Zika have been documented in the U.S. and its territories. How many more cases did Congress need to see before they stopped dragging their feet and passed the legislation that would allow funding for research?

There’s no way to know yet if it’s too late, but it will become obvious once more people begin falling ill from Zika. Hopefully, now that there is funding available, there will be a cure for the virus soon.

I wouldn’t be afraid of Zika yet, but we should hope that it can be contained.

Opinion editor Frank Campos

This is another case of politics trumping the health and welfare of the people in the U.S. The bill did not get passed for almost a year while politicians worked out every detail and discussed every piece of added legislature that was attached to the Zika funding bill.

All the while, cases of Zika in the U.S. and its territories have skyrocketed. 

Now that we know Zika can be transmitted sexually and over 20,000 cases have been reported in the U.S. and it’s territories, it may be too late for this money to have a major impact on the spread of the virus.

The biggest problem I see going forward is how much of the $1.1 billion will actually go toward research and what happens if the money that was funded is not enough?

Let’s hope Congress doesn’t wait a full year to add more funding when the time comes.

Opinion columnist John Brucato

It’s not surprising to see Congress be slow to react instead of being vigilant, but it’s not too late. If it was, all of us would have Zika.

There is no such thing as too late.

Now that there is funding hopefully a cure of some kind can be found, or at least a better way to control and contain the virus.

Fear is the government’s best weapon. It gives them the ability to control things like the Patriot Act and “stop-and-frisk.” Giving into these fears and the Zika scare cause hysteria, which is counterproductive. The American people should not be afraid because the new funding will likely produce a solution.

“Focus Friday” contributors can be reached at [email protected]


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