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Posts Tagged ‘Zika’

Hillary Clinton is a grandma and she loves babies.  Donald Trump kicks babies out of his campaign events.  Hillary has held many campaign events with babies and young children in attendance. The zika virus can lead to heartbreak, and it has.  A baby girl died.  Hillary heard about it, and she has something to say before this crisis outgrows all manageability.

The time to take action against Zika is now
Hillary Clinton

For months, experts have warned that Zika — a disease linked to devastating birth defects — would spread to the United States this summer, and now it has. There were nearly 1,900 confirmed cases across the continental U.S. as of early August, and now we’ve seen the first locally transmitted cases in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami.

I know how scary that must be for young parents, particularly those who are expecting. This week, a father wrote to me to say that his wife is 23 weeks pregnant and they are alarmed because her office is in Wynwood. And yesterday, we heard the heartbreaking news that a baby girl born with Zika-related birth defects died in Houston.

I had the chance to visit the Borinquen Medical Center in Miami yesterday, where physicians, nurses, and researchers are on the frontlines working to prevent and treat Zika. It’s a serious challenge — one that we need to mobilize to address before the virus spreads further.

Everyone has a role to play in preventing this disease. As one doctor said in our discussion, if you prevent yourself from being bitten by a mosquito, you prevent a mosquito from reproducing.

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A small area of Miami is the breeding-ground zero for aedes aegypti mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus. Pregnant women have been advised to avoid the neighborhood.  On a visit to the Borinquen Health Center in Miami today, Hillary Clinton called for Congress to reconvene to address the Zika crisis with meaningful and effective legislation.

 

In Miami, Clinton Vows to Confront the Zika Crisis As President and Calls On Congress to Address It

At Borinquen Medical Center in Miami on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton toured a facility tirelessly working to prevent and treat the Zika virus. Clinton also highlighted the work of the healthcare professionals and community health centers on the front lines of the crisis and called on Republican leaders to call Congress back into session and confront this public health crisis. Clinton emphasized that Congress should either pass the bipartisan funding bill the Senate has already approved or find a new compromise to provide funding for rapid diagnostic testing, treatment and research for a vaccine, free of politics. “This is always a problem on the brink of a public health challenge that hasn’t happened to you.  It hasn’t happened to somebody you know.  It’s hard sometimes to get people mobilized.  But this is an epidemic that will only grow and affect more people,” Clinton said.

Clinton has long called on elected officials to address the public health crisis in Florida and sent two of her top aides to Puerto Rico on a related fact-finding mission.

Clinton’s remarks, as transcribed, are below:

“Thank you so much, Paul.  And it’s a great pleasure and honor for me to be here with all of you here at Borinquen and also to have other health centers represented here. Thank you, Paul. I appreciate very much your leadership. He and I have known each other for a number of years. And it’s great to be here at this facility.  I also want to thank Dr. Deborah Garcia and Dr. Carla McGuire; Dr. Pedro Greer, Jr.; Dr. Aileen Mar, all of whom are lined up behind me. Mayor Carlos Gimenez, mayor of Miami-Dade County, thank you very much. I appreciate your being here and all the dedicated physicians, nurses, researchers, and the entire medical staff of the centers here.  I am delighted that I have just been able to come and see for myself and hear for myself what you are doing here. And I know we could be repeating that at a lot of the other health centers represented.

You are on the front lines, not only on behalf of Zika but on behalf of all of our public health challenges.  And I am a very strong supporter of community health centers, of federally qualified health centers.  I have publicly advocated that we need many more.  We are making progress on giving people access to health care, but we need a broader network of health centers to be able to care for people and particularly to serve as the safety net care provider.  So I thank you for what you do every day and for your being here and being part of the response we have to put together to combat Zika.

So far, nearly 1,900 cases of Zika have been confirmed across the United States.  Here, as you know, in Wynwood, we have seen the first cases of local transmission of the virus.  And we are doing, as I heard, a lot here in the county and in the city to try to reach out to get more people to come in and be tested, particularly pregnant women.  Just yesterday, a father wrote to me telling me that his wife is 23 weeks pregnant, and they were alarmed to discover that her office is in Wynwood. And of course, we told them to come here, come somewhere, get tested.  Don’t be scared.  Get informed.  Find out, as I just heard from a woman that I met just a few minutes ago who is four months pregnant – find out what to do.  Her test was negative, but there are additional precautions that need to be taken going forward to ensure a healthy baby.

Just today, we heard the heartbreaking news that a baby girl born with Zika-related birth defects died in Houston.  And so this is a serious challenge, and one that we need to be mobilized to address before it expands even further.

I first learned about Zika last December.  My daughter, who has a PhD in public health, was also pregnant at the same time.  And she’s the first one who said, ‘This is a serious problem,’ following the data from Brazil and South America.  And she said, ‘We need to get ahead of this disease because it’s particularly dangerous for women, pregnant women, and their children.’  That’s why, after hearing this from my daughter, I sent two of my close aides on a fact-finding mission to Puerto Rico, where more cases had developed.  And as we know, the government there is under so much financial pressure, how were they going to deal with the challenge of Zika?  I wanted to learn more and figure out what we could do to help Puerto Rico, and what we could do more generally across our country.

Right now the most important thing is to follow the guidelines posted at cdc.gov/zika.  And I repeat that because especially for the press, we don’t want to unduly alarm people.  We want people to become informed.  And so please encourage your viewers, your readers, your listeners, to go to cdc.gov/zika.

But we also need to get more resources and treat this as the public health challenge that it is.  And that means we’ve got to have the funds that can then trickle down, Mayor, to the county here, can trickle down to the health center here, that everybody can be working together to combat and prevent the spread of Zika.

I am very disappointed that the Congress went on recess before actually agreeing on what they would do to put the resources into this fight.  And I really am hoping that they will pay attention. In fact, I would very much urge the leadership of Congress to call people back for a special session and get a bill passed, get a bill that is focused on combating Zika passed.  Then health departments, local and state governments, everybody will know that there are resources coming for it, and they will be able to take action to try to prevent that.

So I’m asking the Republican leaders in the House and the Senate to call Congress back into session immediately and to pass the bipartisan funding bill that the Senate passed.  The Senate passed a bill.  And unfortunately, a different bill was passed in the House, and no agreement could be reached before they went out on recess.  So pass the bipartisan bill from the Senate, or come up with a new compromise that does the same and, in fact, tries to get those resources moving as quickly as possible.

I disagree with those who say that Zika is an insignificant issue.  My opponent in this race, his campaign officials have said that, and I think that does a grave disservice because when you come here to a health clinic that is working so hard to get people to come in, to get tested, working with the health departments, working with sanitation departments, working with people to try to go after and prevent a population of mosquitoes from growing, this is something we need to take seriously, and I certainly do.

If we pass this critical funding, we can develop rapid diagnostic testing and treatment, and even begin the hard work of developing a vaccine.  And we shouldn’t rest until we get that done.  This is always a problem on the brink of a public health challenge that hasn’t happened to you.  It hasn’t happened to somebody you know.  It’s hard sometimes to get people mobilized.  But this is an epidemic that will only grow and affect more people.

I really appreciate something that – when we were discussing with the doctors and administrators, Dr. Marty said, if you prevent yourself from being bitten by a mosquito, you prevent a mosquito from reproducing.  So everybody has a role in this.  You may not be a pregnant woman or even any longer possibly being a pregnant woman.  But you could be a person bitten by a mosquito, and you can then have it transmitted to you or transmitted to someone from you.  So everybody has a stake in this, and that’s really why I’m here, to underscore that.

We don’t want to wake up in a year and read so many more stories about babies like the little girl who just died in Houston.  That is just not something we should tolerate in our country.  So again, I want to thank the staff here and their partners – the university, FIU and University of Miami and others – who I are really focused on this.

And I also just want to underscore, we need a public health system that really works for everybody because with changes in climate, more and more diseases are going to find their way right here to the United States that before, we did not see.  With mobility as easy as it is around the world, as we saw with Ebola, diseases are going to find their way here.  So this is one of the canaries in the mind.  If we don’t deal with Zika, we will have consequences.  But if we don’t deal with the bigger issue of making sure we have the premier public health system in the world, which is what we should be providing for the people who live in our country, and it will then set the gold standard for what happens everywhere else, we’re missing a great opportunity to keep our people healthy and to deal with a lot of the diseases that, unfortunately, are going to be coming our way.

So again, let me thank everyone here at the center, and thank all of you for coming today.  And thank you for the work you do every day to keep people healthy.  Thank you all.”

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One of Hillary Clinton’s strongest qualifications for the presidency is her ability to perceive the nature and scope of impending disasters and craft effective measures to obviate a crisis.  Senator Hillary Clinton was the only candidate on the 2008 Democratic roster who foresaw the financial crisis and attempted to take measures to avoid it with her HOLC initiative.  More than once at the ironically dubbed Forum for The Future, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to warn powerful Arab elders that trouble was brewing among their populations due to non-participation in the civil order and high unemployment.  Shortly after the second warning, the Arab Spring exploded all around them.

So along comes Zika, and apparently now there has been a death from it aside from the incipient societal catastrophes the birth defects portend.  Here again, Hillary Clinton is out of the gate and way ahead of everyone else who wants to occupy the Oval Office.  Hillary has written about the Zika virus before.  This question was posed on Quora.  Here is Hillary’s response.

How would we go about stopping the spread of the Zika virus in the US?

Hillary Clinton, Senator, Secretary of State, 2016 presidential candidate

Answer featured in Forbes and The Huffington Post.

Zika—a virus linked to devastating birth defects—is a serious and urgent threat to the United States. Already, there are more than 900 confirmed cases across U.S. states and territories, and that number is expected to grow as mosquitos carrying the disease spread farther north this summer.

In Puerto Rico, the CDC estimates that 1 in 4 people—hundreds of thousands of American citizens—could become infected by year’s end. For an island in the midst of a financial crisis, with weakening health care infrastructure and insufficient Medicaid funding, that’s a catastrophe in the making.

I recently asked two of my senior campaign advisers to go to Puerto Rico to learn more about how Zika is affecting the island and what we can do to mitigate an outbreak. One thing was clear from their discussions with local health and government officials, visits to impacted neighborhoods, and observations at women’s health clinics: We need more resources to stop the spread of this disease.

First, we must do everything we can to educate the public—especially pregnant women—about the dangers of Zika so that people know to protect themselves against mosquito bites and against sexual transmission of the disease. Puerto Rico has taken an important step by providing education and toolkits to pregnant women through their Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) clinics, but we must do more to raise awareness—in Puerto Rico and across the United States.

Next, we have to develop a rapid diagnostic test for Zika—that’s a critical step, since most people who get the virus never develop symptoms and could unknowingly infect others. We need to invest in treatments and a vaccine. And we have to step up mosquito control and abatement and improve access to health and family planning services.

To put it simply, there’s a lot we need to do—and fast. We don’t yet know everything about this disease, but what we’re learning is alarming. Zika has now been linked to microcephaly, a heartbreaking birth defect that can lead to severe developmental delays and long-term health problems. In Brazil alone, more than 1,000 babies have been born with microcephaly or central nervous system malformations. It is also suspected that, in rare cases, Zika could lead to other neurological problems in adults.

Between travel-related cases, sexual transmission of the disease, and the spread of aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are native to the southern United States, experts are warning that Zika could spread much farther into the U.S. than initially expected.

We need to do everything we can to fight Zika—but we can’t do that without adequate resources. Congress should immediately provide emergency funding for Zika testing and treatment, mosquito control, family planning, and to support maternal and infant health. It’s up to us to convince them to do the right thing:

Add your name now and call on Congress to address this urgent public health crisis.

Such a contrast with the guys who spend their time on personal attacks against each other. We need a president who knows what to attack and how to do it.  While the guys are sitting on their hands, Hillary is ready with answers.

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Families and children have been at the forefront of the issues Hillary Clinton has confronted for 40 years.  The threats posed by the Zika virus have enormous implications for families and for society at large.  Congressional Republicans have proposed an inadequate response that Hillary contends is senseless and dangerous.  Once again, Hillary Clinton paves the way in front of a crisis and calls for an immediate, robust plan of action.  Five people are left in this presidential race.  One of them is a pioneer, and, as her husband reminds us, a change-maker.
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The Zika virus, which has already spread through South and Central America and the Caribbean, has now infected a number of Americans. It’s a serious disease that risks the long-term health of children. We’ve got to step up as a country and deal with this right now.

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Why does Zika matter? In great part because it’s been linked to microcephaly, a birth defect where babies are born with too-small heads, often leading to severe developmental delays. The heartbreak that microcephaly can cause families is devastating. And babies with microcephaly require a great deal of long-term medical care. That’s something that many families and communities just don’t have the resources to provide.

That’s why we’ve got to stop Zika before it spreads any further.

There is a lot we need to do, and fast. First and foremost, Congress should meet President Obama’s request for $1.8 billion in emergency appropriations to fight Zika. The president asked for this funding over a month ago, but on Saturday, Congress will begin a two-week break without having allocated one penny.

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