The Corner

National Security & Defense

Uh-Oh: More Than 200 Doctors Call for Moving or Postponing Rio Olympics

This is unnerving: About 200 doctors, most of whom are affiliated with big-name, respected institutions and who don’t appear to be paranoid nut-jobs, want the upcoming summer Olympic games to be postponed or relocated from Rio de Janeiro, citing the risks of the Zika virus.

It is indisputable that holding the Games as scheduled has a greater risk of accelerating the spread of the Brazilian viral strain than the alternatives. Postponing and/or moving the Games also mitigates other risks brought on by historic turbulence in Brazil’s economy, governance, and society at large—which are not isolated problems, but context that makes the Zika problem all but impossible to solve with the Games fast approaching.

We are concerned that WHO is rejecting these alternatives because of a conflict of interest. Specifically, WHO entered into an official partnership with the International Olympic Committee, in a Memorandum of Understanding that remains secret.18 There is no good reason for WHO not to disclose this Memorandum of Understanding, as is standard practice for conflicts of interest. Not doing so casts doubt on WHO’s neutrality, for reasons described further in the Appendix.

Most of the doctors signing the petition are medical school professors, infectious disease researchers, molecular biologists — the sort of people who would seem to know a thing or two about the potential risks of Zika. The heightened risk seems common sense; in August, more then 10,500 athletes and their coaches and trainers will come to Rio; separately, about a half million foreign tourists are expected to fly into Rio… exposing themselves to Zika-carrying mosquitos for a few days or weeks, then flying back to their home countries. if you were trying to expose as many people as possible, you would probably come up with a plan like this.

Dr. João Grangeiro, Rio 2016’s chief medical officer, told a news conference that “the incidence of the mosquito that transmits the virus is extremely low in August and September, which is winter in Brazil and the period in which the Rio 2016 Games will take place.” Better hope there’s no heat wave.

If the doctors affiliated with the Olympic organizers say the risk of infection to athletes and visitors is low, but the doctors not affiliated with the Olympics say the risk is significant… who do you trust?

Most Popular

Elections

The Democrats’ Disastrous CNN LGBT Town Hall

A few days after Donald Trump committed the worst foreign-policy blunder of his presidency by betraying America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria, former vice president Joe Biden, the elder statesman and co-frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, was on a national stage talking to CNN’s primetime ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Resigns

Fox News Channel's chief anchor, Shepard Smith, announced on air Friday that he would be resigning from his post after 23 years with the network. “This is my last newscast here,” said Smith. “Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged.” He ... Read More
NR Webathon

Don’t Let Michael Mann Succeed

I  enjoyed the running joke of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in the great Dickens novel Bleak House, back when I first read it. Little did I know that one day I and the magazine that I love would effectively be caught up in a version of that interminable case, courtesy of a litigious climate scientist with zero regard ... Read More
Elections

Beto Proposes to Oppress Church with State

Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign is within the margin of error of non-existence, but in his failure he has found a purpose: expressing the Democratic id. His latest bid for left-wing love came at a CNN forum on gay rights, where he said that churches that oppose same-sex marriage should have to pay ... Read More