Political corruption, environmental disaster, pathogen infestation, financial ruin, terrorists threats, and drug lords: Let the games begin. When the Olympic committee voted to award the 2016 Olympics to a city that has the dubious distinction of being one of the leading crime and murder capitals let alone one of the biggest dumping grounds for raw sewage of the world should have raised so many red flags to every participating country that something was just a little bit discerning. And yet what has already been occurring for years has been a complete economic, financial and environmental nightmare.
When Arthur L. Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University who wrote in February that holding the Olympics in Brazil would be irresponsible, he has been right all along. Scientists are still warning that the Zika virus is so dangerous, it would be unethical to allow the Rio Olympics to proceed as planned this August. More than 100 doctors, researchers and health experts from around globe signed an open letter urging the United Nation’s World Health Organization to implore the International Olympic Committee to either move the summer games from Rio de Janeiro or even go so far as to cancel them, saying they are concerned about the virus’ potential impact on global health.
The Brazilian strain of Zika virus harms health in ways that science has not observed before. An unnecessary risk is posed when 500,000 foreign tourists from all countries attend the Games, potentially acquire that strain, and return home to places where it can become epidemic. Should that happen to poor, as-yet unaffected places like most of South Asia and Africa the suffering can be catastrophic. It is unethical to run the risk, just for Games on the risk of the Zika virus alone. The Rio Olympics is scheduled to run August 5 to 21, and more than 500,000 foreign tourists are expected to attend the games. Earlier this month, the WHO is warning Rio visitors about the Zika virus and encouraging them to follow protocol, such as protecting themselves from mosquito bites, practicing safer sex and staying in air-conditioned accommodations.
These scientists cite precedents for postponing the games. World War I prevented the 1916 Olympics, while World War II canceled both the 1940 and 1944 Olympics. According to the letter, major sporting events have also been moved because of diseases, “as Major League Baseball did for Zika, and the Africa Cup of Nations did for Ebola. Professor Amir Attaran has been arguing that the people returning from the games could escalate the Zika health crisis in Brazil to a full-blown global health disaster. Given all the other problems with Rio’s lax preparation, major crime issues and political upheaval, there is absolutely no good reason to hold the Summer Olympics in Brazil this summer. Simply put the Zika virus is more dangerous and in Brazil particularly Rio de Janeiro the outbreak is more extensive.
These same scientists emphatically state several reasons why the Olympic in Rio must be canceled. First there is Rio itself. this city is way more affected by the Zika virus than anywhere else in the world. In Brazil the Zika strain is more dangerous and potentially deadly. And when you have so many foreigners crowded in the Olympic village just makes it more probable to for the Zika virus to spread and spread quickly to their home countries once the game are over. In essence a global pandemic is a more likely scenario. Proceeding with the Games violates what the Olympics stand for. The International Olympic Committee writes that “Olympism seeks to create social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles”
It is time to but the health and safety for all above the monetary value placed on hosting the Olympic games. As of yet the infrastructure that is supposed to have been put in place to rid the city of Rio of all the sewage and pollution that has ravaged the city for years there still remains vast areas where human contact would cause more health concerns than anybody bargained for. The Polluted water, the Zika virus the ongoing gang violence, the shoddy construction of venues, no safe transportation, and to top it off a government in bankruptcy have all the elements that spell an Olympic nightmare.