Puerto Rico was not saved by Congress from defaulting on its $422 million debt payment, but New York City wants to save the country from the spread of the Zika virus.
The help will come from a donation of one million condoms to help stop the spread of Zika, a disease carried by mosquitoes and spread through sexual intercourse.
“As the Zika virus epidemic spreads and we continue to learn more about the risk of sexual transmission and birth defects, we wanted to use our resources to help our longstanding partners in Puerto Rico,” said Mary Bassett, Health Commissioner, in a letter to her Puerto Rican counterpart, Ana Ríus Armendáriz, this according to the New York Daily News.
The help doesn’t come out as a surprise, NYC is the city with the largest population of Puerto Ricans outside of the island, and it also comes following the first death from the Zika virus in Puerto Rico.
So far, the island has seen 600 cases of Zika, including 73 involving pregnant women. The virus can cause serious birth defects, including babies being born with small heads. However, 14 of the pregnant women infected with Zika have given birth to normal babies.
“For too long American citizens in Puerto Rico have received second-class treatment,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of the New York City Council. “The Zika virus poses a serious threat across the globe and the high infection rates in Puerto Rico are a somber reminder that Congress must grant Puerto Rico as much health care funding as it provides to all other U.S. Citizens.”
At this point, no one can rely on Congress doing the right thing, but we’re glad NYC is picking up the slack.
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