NYU doc: We should postpone the Summer Olympics because of Zika

It’s time to postpone the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, NYU Langone Medical Center’s Dr. Art Caplan says.

“Are you really going to try and run the Olympics this August in the middle of a public health emergency when the country can’t afford to finish the buildings…?” Dr. Caplan asked on The Michael Smerconish Program Thursday.

The World Health Organization predicts the virus could infect up to 3 or 4 million people within the next year, and Brazil has been called the “epicenter” to the spreading pathogen.

While most people infected with the virus don’t get ill — and those who do recover without complications — the serious risk is in the spread of the illness to pregnant women and their unborn babies. The CDC stresses that little is known about long-term effects, but issued a travel alert after “reports in Brazil of microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.”

Could the area be blasted with DDT, killing mosquitoes, the primary source of transmission?

“You could absolutely do that,” Caplan says. “Maybe the athletes might go, I don’t know. But tourists? They’re not going to go in the middle of a DDT-blasted dead zone. It’s like, ‘Let’s visit Chernobyl to enjoy the Olympics.'”

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