The Centers for Disease Control released a regular update on the spread of the Zika virus yesterday which includes some alarming figures, such as there being over 400 pregnant women in the U.S. infected with the Zika virus.
That includes over 230 women in the United States and over 180 in United States territories.
The CDC reported that, as of June 9, 234 pregnant women in the US have been diagnosed with Zika infection. [CDC task-force leader Dr. Denise Jamieson] said most of those pregnancies are still ongoing. There have also been at least 189 women in US territories who have been diagnosed with the Zika virus. [...]
Jamieson said the CDC’s best estimate at the moment is that there is a 1 percent to 15 percent risk, if the infection occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy.
The CDC also reported that 3 babies with birth defects caused by the Zika virus have been born in the U.S. so far, but that number will obviously go up considering the number of pregnant women infected with the virus. And this is just the beginning. Monday June 20th is officially the first day of Summer in the U.S.
Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, are still dithering.
What exactly is the current state of Zika funding in Congress? The Senate has passed a measure that grants most of the Obama administration's request for funding, but House Republicans advanced a measure that provides about half as much. The two sides are currently negotiating with each other, but there's no immediate end in sight. The current point of contention is a House Republican demand to offset funding for fighting the virus with cuts to other programs.
We're only talking about a little over $1 billion, which is nothing in the grand scheme of the federal budget, but the Flying Monkey Caucus is adamant that we not blow up the deficit by fighting a public health crisis.
Strangely enough, House Republicans had no qualms in passing a package of tax cuts earlier this year that will increase the deficit by over $100 billion over the next 10 years.