Rio is not some city in the middle of nowhere from which no flights are coming in and out of, and now suddenly this massive international influx of visitors will come in -- it is a world-class city, a financial hub of the largest country in the continent.
If we take London 2012 as a benchmark, estimates there are that the olympics yielded a 13% increase in foreign visitors from the previous summer. And that is London, a place where access from other destinations is cheaper, the infrastructure better, and a lot more appealing to U.S. visitors (due to some of the things cited above). It is completely reasonable to expect that the delta in Rio should be roughly the same, if not smaller.
The fact is that the"impact" on travel due to the Olympics will be negligible in a city like Rio -- and the economic impact is CERTAINLY negative, unless you are drinking the Kool-Aid of organizers.
I'm fine with cancelling the games, but claiming that not doing so will lead to a much riskier global health situation than the one we are already living is hogwash.
Instead,the article does some of the worst things we'd expect from scientists with sentences like "All it takes is one infected traveler" -- this is fear-mongering and irresponsible and the author should be ashamed of that comment.
I maintain that it is not a careful, reasoned argument about the issue.
I'm sorry, but there seems to be a bit of a logical disconnect here. This looks like a knee-jerk pattern match on the "all it takes" phrase. My understanding is that this is factual in this case. That is how it works with a lot of diseases -- with many kinds of self-replicators -- all it takes is one. That is how it works with various insect and fungal blights that have ravaged California forests. A public awareness of the relative risks is a public good.
Single patients flown to the US from the Ebola stricken regions did not spread infection, because of the particulars of infection mechanisms. Zika can be spread by mosquito. If the Olympics increase the traffic to resource-thin countries with populations of the right kind of mosquito, this should be considered carefully.
source (see page 97): http://www.dadosefatos.turismo.gov.br/export/sites/default/d...
Its not like in US, the sewage infrastructure in India is very bad. There are open air sewage drains, mosquito infestation is every day life and in cities people live in very densely crowded homes. All of this contributes to a rapid spread in case of a outbreak.
In fact dengue outbreaks are common in India every summer, or a few months.
Its like arguing that some subset of people drive drunk right now, therefore it would be a great idea if more people would drive drunk this summer.
Automobiles, while often convenient, are one of the leading causes of death, and we should try to organize public policy around reducing their use and the deaths they cause to the extent possible without overly compromising their convenience.
Reducing the number of automobiles would also have a big positive environmental impact, and reducing the number and widths of roads and parking lots would free up a lot of space which could be used for other purposes. Other forms of transportation also scale a lot better with population density, and denser cities use a lot less other infrastructure per capita.
Once self-driving cars become effective, I have high hopes that they will replace a large proportion of current human drivers, something else which should save many lives.
So doubling the number of people congregated in Rio won't just double the danger, but quadruple it. If car accidents obeyed a similar dynamic -- where they increase (much) more than proportionally to the number of vehicle-miles driven, we should be similarly more cautious about additional drivers.
No, it's not the same.
But, I think in Rio there is also an argument to be made of how many of those "estimated" visitors are actually simply displacing people who would otherwise have travelled to Rio. To your point, if Rio is in fact no set-up to accommodate as many people as London, then a lot of the effect of the games will simply be substituting regular travelers with Olympics watchers.
Either way -- the only point I guess I was really trying to make was that the variable of interest is the delta in the actual visitors to Rio -- you want an economist making this argument, not a health expert
You probably want both.
It was totally worth it, but I've been wondering since how the hell the city is going to handle that many people there at once.
Nevertheless, the 500,000 figure cited would represent a ~25% bump in the number of visitors (if we use 2012 figures). If you consider the area in Brazil most affected by Zika (which would include São Paulo), then this drops to 10%. You then also have to realize that a lot of those visitors displaced people who did not travel to Rio because of the olympics, which is an effect that is widely documented. Taken into account, I think it is plausible to suggest that the real impact of travel that we'd be seeing would be in the low teens or single digits.
But I think it is certainly debatable, and I guess this is the only point I really wanted to make in my comment -- that THIS is really the focus if you wanted to argue that the games ought to be suspended, but that the article doesn't address it in the least.
Maybe the tourists won't swimming in stagnant water where mosquitoes breed but tourists will be attending nearby while athletes swim in it.
If, as seems to be the case, you're looking at the anticipated percent increase in travel, then you've already included this displacement.
Clearly you have to inspect that 500,000 number carefully, and that's all that matters for this argument. That would've been an honest discussion on this issue, but it is not what the authors chose to concentrate on.
Olympics tourism will be much more widespread, including many from vulnerable areas in Africa and Asia.
And the OP does not say that it will prevent the spread of Zika, only slow it. Even a few extra months could be valuable -- lots of effort is currently being spent looking for a vaccine.
That's only slightly more than the share of the population their region concentrates.
Yes, there are places where the disease wasn't identified yet. (Is it because of lack of cases? Who knows?) But those are mostly empty places insulated by bad transportation networks.
As the article says, sending tourists into an outbreak of a new virus does not seem prudent.
Come to Brazil if you wish, but take care. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is all around and can spread not only Zika, but Chikungunya (kindly named "chico cunha") and Dengue.
Make good use of insect repellent, watch your stuff when walking on beaches (don't forget robbers and thieves) and think twice about trusting someone.
As someone said before, every city in the world has its problems and brazilian cities have them also.
Personally, I will not go to Olympics just because hotel prices on Rio skyrocketed and are almost impractical.
At the same magnitude?
Overall though, think given the fact the facilities have not been fully constructed, the Brazilian government is on the verge of collapse, and the risks of being a major disease vector is plausible...
Should definitely consider delay or moving
Don't believe those news. The government will change today, nothing will collapse. There will be some roads closed (until the police gets there), and some brave discourses on the media, and that's all.
The government attempt a coup Monday - everybody just carried on.
What's the worst-case scenario for letting Aedis Aegypti live? Is it better than the worst-case scenario for exterminating the species?
So it is a very serious concern at the moment, but it is not any sort of existential problem. It will likely not even be a medium term problem (there is early research towards vaccines).
It is way too early to make that claim.
You're also ignoring the Guillain–Barré cases that are suspected to have been caused by Zika.
The CDC has weighed in:
Seems to still be doubt though ...
Please note I am not arguing that the Olympics should continue in Rio. We should do what is best for world health, even if that negatively impacts Rio financially.
You're right that it isn't a question that should be determined by finances, but that's a different issue.
>It would be sad if the games were cancelled, but at the risk of a global pandemic it's hard to see how people can argue in favor anymore.
So yes, we can and we do 'objectively' (as in, per a standardized methodology) assign value to human suffering.
In your model, given certain starting conditions, can you ever get a positive value for human suffering? For example if rich people are willing to pay to see gladiators fight animals to the death, or just to see the poor people subjugated as slaves. I am pretty sure you assign positive financial value to animal suffering because factory farms torture animals to save a buck and therefore in purely economic terms they are doing "better".
If you could produce more meat cheaper at the expense of keeping animals in terrible conditions on factory farms, would you do it? After all, if money is all that matters the animal's suffering doesn't even enter the equation.
How about increasing financial gain at the expense of destroying the natural environment (eg overfishing, dumping plastics and releasing all the carbon from the ground)? Grandchildren may have to pay the bill, but what if you had perfect knowledge and knew they'd be economically richer, but with worse health outcomes and lots of species gone exinct?
Measuring implies a model, and the model makes assumptions about the world that may not be true, and the whole combination can be extremely harmful. Not to mention very human-centric (and "us" centric). As the Native American chief said:
When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money
It's pretty common thing around here to see "the business case for doing [ethical thing]", as if being good business is a prerequisite to ethical behavior. It's particular disconcerting when it's applied to widespread problems.
Basic workplace safety is good... because it leads to higher returns on investment.
Discrimination is bad... because there's more money in equality.
Don't fuck over your employees... because you get better productivity that way.
It's a point of view that's pretty foreign to me.
Yes, it's likely that someone of them will contract Zika and bring that home with them to spread - but it's more likely that it will not happen, and the effect is dwarfed by the chances that the spread will be caused by the ordinary flow of people, and cancelling the Olympics will have no effect on that.
Huh? This is the home of the keiretsu and the yakuza, you know. Corruption among the political elite is a standard assumption among the Japanese.
Considering the political forces that need to be involved in moving (or not) the games it seems foolish to not have a safety net if "please move the games" doesn't work.
Some airlines have been allowing passengers to refund tickets to areas affected by Zika .
I think every decent travel agency should worry its customers that traveling to Brazil at this time is not a good idea.
Besides the health issues, Brazil is ousting its president today and most leftist parties and unions have vouched to stop the country with strikes, blockades and protests. You may get stuck in a 2-hour traffic jam on your way to the games.
1 - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/zika-virus-m...
The autumn in Rio is the coldest and driest in a long time http://g1.globo.com/rio-de-janeiro/noticia/2016/03/outono-no...
When the Olympics arrive, the mosquito will be in their lowest population count.
If you consider that the Olympics tourists are rich ones, that will spend most of their times in air conditioned environments, the risk is really very low.
I have yet to see a study that links it to microcephaly for anyone who has not been in brazil for a long time.
I realize the mosquito isn't common, but brazil also does things like: "secretly spray tons and tons of pesticide on their populus", etc.
Given these are all correlative studies, i'd love to see something from a country where there aren't a ton of possible other variables.
(especially given zika has been around and even common forever and it's only now that this seems to be an issue)
You know, before the tourism economies of all of these other countries are completely destroyed.
It's the fat cats who don't want to move/postpone the Olympics most. They have the most to lose.
Why are there hardly any cases in Colombia?
Most of the other islands are remarkably small.
Note also that the methodology used in that study (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-67...) is a retrospective analysis of data that uses somewhat ... almost laughable assumptions-
Modelling assumptions for estimation of risk of microcephaly associated with Zika virus infection:
<this is just some of them>
•All microcephaly cases in the study period have been identified
•The birth rate is constant during the study period and can be estimated from official statistics
•The number of Zika virus infections in a given week is proportional to the number of consultations for suspected infection in the same week
Note the last one: They are estimating actual zika infections not from zika infections, but from consultations of people suspected to have zika and the percent who were later found to have zika.
So how accurate is such a "suspicion based consultation"?
By the end of the outbreak, public health officials had recorded 8750 suspected infections with Zika virus, of which 383 (4.4%) were confirmed in the laboratory.
At this point, i'm going to suggest maybe their assumptions are not quite as strong as they think they are.
Despite all the hype, Zika is not the end of the world. Most people who get it hardly notice and get over it in rather short order just as one gets over a cold.
You can say "This brought a twofold increase in clientele", "We saw a threefold weight increase in affected mammals". I've never seen it used passed "fourfold" though.
At most they'll spray and fumigate the skeeters for the few weeks the activities take place and then go back to "normal".
If so, could spread the world at lightning speed.
I think there is also concern for the athletes in that the water is absolutely filthy there.
It's the spread of the virus that's scaring everybody.
Watch it on TV, from far away.
Seriously, it's like any other city in the world. If you walk around a dodgy area talking on an iPhone, by yourself, especially late at night, then you're asking for trouble. Be sensible and cautious, and Rio is a lovely place to go on holiday.
I guess I'm attracted to cities with higher crime rates.
Not that incidents like this don't occur in other cities in the world, but it shows that avoiding dodgy areas at night might not be enough.
The only other place I have seen it like the above is the gypsy kids in Rome. Even then though they were more slight of hand pick pockets than the blatant assault in the video.
Almost 60,000 people were murdered in Brazil in 2014, most with guns. While some Latin American countries have higher per capita murder rates, in absolute numbers, Brazil is the deadliest place in the world outside Syria.
Brazilians are far more likely to be shot to death than Americans, a more populous country where there are about 8,000 to 9,000 gun homicides each year.
Right now, Brazil actually has tough gun laws.
More here: http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/03/28/472157969/b...
Hold press conference about it and pat self on back
Fail to enforce the law uniformly -- or at all
Shield politically-favored violators of law
Get re-elected because you're tough on crime
Society remains unchanged
I've had a phone pickpocketed from me too.
I guess many officers think arresting someone underage is not worth the trouble, unless it is some life threatening situation.
I generally espouse this view ... that being sensible and street smart are the important parts to visiting different cities and that, in general, they are all fairly safe.
However, I also would describe Rio and Sao Paulo as a little further along the danger/risk meter.
You know all those warnings and rules of thumb that people pass on about pickpocketing and scams and tricksters and so on ? And they never really pan out or materialize ? In Rio, they do.
I would feel more safe (than Rio) in Shanghai or Shenzhen, less safe (than Rio) in Tijuana.
Never had anything remotely look like violence, robbery or even weirdos like that in Shanghai/Suzhou.
The time before this US thing (where nothing happened but it made the hairs on my neck stand up and we did realize we were close to getting robbed) was about 10 years ago when I got robbed at knife point in a small town under Barcelona. While feeling completely fine walking through weird neighborhoods in Belize. So you never know...
When I was around 8 my teacher in school said 'if you go to Amsterdam, you die; this city is so dangerous that when you go there, you will most surely get robbed, raped and murdered'. Apparently in a certain part of the Netherlands this idea was prevalent as when, 10 odd years later, I went to the university of Amsterdam my grandparents had something like 'Ok, this is it, this is the last time we saw him. He dead.'. Then I lived there and I actually lived in the neighborhood which was 'known' to 'everyone' that you will die there; de Bijlmer. Ofcourse, it was great; all these murderers and thieves offered me beer and food before going to uni in the morning; they invited me to the bars under the flats at night. I walked through that place (and other 'you'll die' places) in the middle of night and never felt anything resembling fear.
I want to go to Brazil and I will because of a client soon, but he, born and raised in Sao Paulo, says even he doesn't like it because of the crime. And he knows this city well. I'm not sure what to believe but we'll see... Not bringing any iPhone that's for sure.
Stay out of the dodgy areas, don't walk the streets by yourself at night, and avoid standing out. I was there last month, I got buses, had lunch in a typical Brazilian cafe, went to the coach station. No problems.
Wow, what did you do? Keep walking? back in circle? If they get to your room it's game over...
Please don't apply your standards other cities of the world. What you described does not happen in my (capital) city. In fact if you drop something, you will likely get it back.
Pray tell what is this magical city you live in that does not have a single dodgy area.
What city do you live in, by the way? The only city I know of deservedly with this reputation is Singapore.
I'm deliberately singling this one out as a point of pride:
Where in Warsaw can't you walk down the street reading your iPhone?
I'll concede pickpocketing can be an issue on buses, and racism is very much an issue in present times. Issues with muggings, though?
Just to give a counter example: I lived in Brussels, Philadelphia, Oslo, Sao Paulo... the only place about which I have a first hand "armed robbery" story was in Oslo of all places: a coworker got actually shot in the back when he bravely (but stupidly) turned his back and said "no, you are not going to shoot me".
He was lucky and was only a couple of weeks out but he carried his X-rays of the bullet with him because nobody would believe him otherwise.
One anecdote that might be telling: someone left their wallet in front of me in Stockholm metro. I was concerned, trying to imagine a way to get it back to him; the Swede sitting opposite me was surprised that I didn’t know I could hand it to any employee of SL safely.
Sure, there are isolated anecdotes like the ones you quote - but there is not a single area of either Geneva or Nyon where I wouldn't walk around with an iPhone at night (I grew up in the Nyon region, then moved to Geneva's as a teenager FWIW). The worst that you can expect is someone trying to sell you drugs, or begging, or getting into a drunken argument (like basically anywhere in the world where humans live)
Not to mention, that's probably the "worst" region of the country - I live in Bern now and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who would not bring your iPhone back to you should you leave it on the sidewalk at night.
There are obviously many factors that come into play. The biggest ones are not what you expect: how "gringo" (foreigner) you look, and are you walking around with Brazilian friends? Negatives on both counts will increase your odds of "bad stuff" happening to you dramatically. Also, if you come from a safer place where people do stuff such as routinely leave cars and homes unlocked, casually hail any cab anywhere and walk around with expensive phones(or cameras), you're in for a big surprise.
The best safety advice I can give is: assume there is no police whatsoever in the country and act accordingly, even if you do happen to see police around. They are unlikely to do anything to help you. May not even investigate if you die.
You should still be mostly OK, statistically speaking. The problem is that, when bad things happen, they tend to be really bad. You are very very lucky that if if is something simple as a purse snatching (as I have seen in other comments). Still very lucky if there's a knife involved. Expect multiple armed thugs in motorcycles, even if you can't see everyone involved, assume there's backup for the criminals.
One thing that many have overlooked in the comments is that for Rio and Sao Paulo, the crime trend is down. In São Paulo particularly, I've even seen people casually browsing on their iPads while sitting at bar tables next to a busy road, or people talking on their iphones in barely lit streets near the city center. That was unthinkable a few years ago.
However, the trend for other regions is that crime rates are rising dramatically. Some regions, in the Northeast particularly, are worse than some war zones. Avoid, specially if you have no Brazilian friends.
Disclaimer: I am Brazilian, lived for 30+ years in the northeast. Fled to the very south, to a very good neighborhood, wife witnessed a drug-related execution in front of our building the week we arrived. Nothing came out of it btw, didn't even make the news. Where I used to live, 20+ violent deaths in a weekend are not worth newspaper pages anymore. Then fled to the Bay Area.
Don't be so sure about that. Most people who contract both of those don't know that they have them as the symptoms are so mild they are mistaken for a simple cold.
But no, it's just racists pretending that diseases can spread.
You can relax anyway, there is too much money to be made by those running the games in Rio to have it canceled. No one actually cares if people get sick.
Is "Brazilian" a race now?
Access to hospitals is irrelevant. @mhurron pointed out these diseases can often present as a mild cold, for which you'd never go to the hospital. You may well have gotten them without really noticing.
"Historically, adult human infection with Zika virus has presented with mild, non-life threatening symptoms in 20% of infected patients, with 80% being clinically asymptomatic during initial infection."
Those diseases spread easily precisely because many people have it and don't stay home with mosquito net and repellents. They just go on with their lives, transmitting the disease to other people who may be more vulnerable and have worse symptoms.
When you get common viral infection symptoms, it's common in Paraguay to avoid Aspirin just in case it's dengue, even if you don't have the joint pain and spots in the skin that the disease is known for.
Some considerate people even use mosquito repellent when they get suspicious, so they won't transmit the disease in case it really is dengue.
People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms that can include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.
Zika virus disease is usually relatively mild and requires no specific treatment. People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice.
* Most people infected with Zika virus won’t even know they have the disease because they won’t have symptoms.
* The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
* People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital
You believe your friends had Zika. bit they may not have. Given the Zika epidemic, I wouldn't be surprised if lots of sick people assumed they had Zika but in fact had something else. And, even if they had Zika, your anecdote does not trump what the CDC and WHO tell us.
I don't believe it, it was clinically tested with a diagnosis from the blood plus doctor in private hospital. That's how people get to know about it, not by word of mouth or looking up in Google.
I'm reaffirming that the statement is incorrect and they should travel down to Brazil to understand this matter
If you think the CDC and the WHO are not in Brazil, you're mistaken. But let's pretend you're right that CDC doesn't know what they're talking about. How about the Ministério da Saúde?
A febre por vírus Zika é descrita como uma doença febril aguda, autolimitada, com duração de 3-7 dias, geralmente sem complicações graves e não há registro de mortes
Translation: Fever by Zika virus is described as an acute febrile illness, self-limited, lasting 3-7 days, usually without serious complications and there is no record of deaths. The hospitalization rate is potentially low.
Segundo a literatura, mais de 80% das pessoas infectadas não desenvolvem manifestações clínicas
Translation: According to the literature, over 80% of infected people do not develop clinical manifestations
This seems to back up very well ceejayoz's original comment, which you disagreed with: pointed out these diseases can often present as a mild cold, for which you'd never go to the hospital. You may well have gotten them without really noticing
So, presumably you don't think the Ministério da Saúde also have to travel to Brazil to know what they're talking about? There's also all kinds of information on portalsaude.saude.gov.br referencing the CDC, the WHO, and describing the fact that the CDC has been in Brazil for months conducting research and field investigations.
There you go! See that there's a difference from the other statement?
"Segundo a literatura, mais de 80% das pessoas infectadas não desenvolvem manifestações clínicas, porém quando presentes a doença se caracteriza pelo surgimento do exantema maculopapular pruriginoso, febre intermitente, hiperemia conjuntival não purulenta e sem prurido, artralgia, mialgia e dor de cabeça e menos frequentemente, edema, dor de garganta, tosse, vômitos e haematospermia.. No entanto, a artralgia pode persistir por aproximadamente um mês."
This statement is contradictory, this is were the confusion resides. I have never seen a case till today regarding this, neither has the society here a person that had Zika but very little symptoms, it's always hard and pushes the people to bed, what has happened a lot here is since "Zika" is on evidence people push "Dengue" symptoms as "Zika" just because it's on the "Vibe", so the numbers of Zika are huge but in reality it's a mix of Dengue (types 1,2 and 3), Zika and Chikungunha.
> There you go! See that there's a difference from the other statement?
I think you are confused about medical terminology, particularly, I think you are confusing acute fever (which is a fever with sudden onset) with severe fever.
> I have never seen a case till today regarding this, neither has the society here a person that had Zika but very little symptoms, it's always hard and pushes the people to bed
I'm pretty sure that the reason these sources have stated this is that people with Zika but very few symptoms have been identified by medical authorities. OTOH, many people with Zika but without severe symptoms won't ever know they had Zika, since they may not seek medical attention.
Peer-reviewed research (http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal...) states that "80% being clinically asymptomatic during initial infection".
For the 20% of symptomatic people, the WHO lists (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/) similar symptoms to cold/flu, symptoms you wouldn't necessarily assume are Zika symptoms.
Your friends you know have had Zika are symptomatic. You may have plenty of friends (not to mention yourself) in the much larger asymptomatic bucket.
The "I don't think all the experts are right because anecdotes" attitude just makes you look silly.
The ability to go to a hospital also doesn't prevent diseases.
I'm not saying that there's no Zika, I'm just saying that there's more of a "ohhh.. everybody is going to get it!" then anything else...
Best to all,
Signed: The mosquito killer! :p