27 February 2016

15% don’t want Congress to fund cure for Zika virus


Most people who contract the Zika virus from a mosquito bite just need to rest and they are healed in 5 to 7 days but there have been a large number of cases in South America where pregnant women who are infected suffer a miscarriage or their babies are born with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Barack Obama asked Congress for $1.8bn of special funding to help accelerate efforts to find a vaccine for Zika – following the World Health Organisation’s decision to designate it a global health emergency, with four million at risk of infection.

41% of the YouGov First Verdict panel hoped that Congress should meet the President’s request in full and a further 2% think it should authorise more than $1.8billion. 34% supported “partial funding” – and most interesting in my opinion, 15% wanted no funding to be given at all. This is despite reasonably well-advertised fears that the Zika virus might reach the USA in the warmer, summer months. The 49% wanting only partial funding or no funding may fit with the general hostility to overseas aid spending but it is also true that funding for humanitarian emergencies and vaccines is often broadly supported.

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Tim Montgomerie is Editor of Portrait of America