“We cannot wait until there’s a fire to want to go out and buy a fire truck,” said Oscar Alleyne, the senior advisor for National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).
NACCHO President Claude Jacob says the proposed cuts are a huge hit to the agencies most effective at battling Zika.
In addition to a hiring freeze, Kaiser Health News reported a $838 million cut from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an organization that leads the way in vaccine development.
The CDC says, as of May 31, there has been at least 5,300 documented cases of Zika.
Those most effected by the mosquito-transmitted disease are the unborn.
People infected don’t typically experience symptoms, but of the 250 pregnant women with Zika in 2016, CDC data reveals 10 percent gave birth to a baby with Zika-related birth defects.
According to Alleyne, congress only funded the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry for a year. That money is all but gone. More money is needed to combat outbreaks of Zike or Ebola.
Of course, the impoverished are at a higher risk of contracting the diseases. Americans below the federal poverty limit—especially in the Gulf Coast—are extremely vulnerable. Their homes typically have less protection from mosquitos like window screens or general housing at all. Trash and standing water can be breeding grounds for the bug.
NACCHO also notes, the GOP’s healthcare plan will not help in the slightest as 45 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended. Zika can also be transmitted via sexual activity.
Zachary Thompson, the director of Dallas Country Health and Human Services, says the government has to cautious and “really attack this problem with the seriousness that it deserves.”