Letters to the Editor

Commissioner Suarez: Miami working to fight Zika

As many in our community are acutely aware, the Zika virus is now being transmitted in the United States here in our own city.

With four confirmed cases of mosquito-borne transmission last week and another 11 confirmed cases this week, we must all take the warnings regarding the spread of this disease to heart.

We must all take swift action to protect ourselves and, most important, our children.

The city of Miami and Miami-Dade County are trying to do their best to educate residents as to how to protect themselves: Dress to cover arms and legs, apply mosquito repellant and drain standing water.

That being said, while we as residents can do what we can, our federal government must do its part in protecting us as well.

Prior to the summer break, Congress failed to make a decision on Zika funding. This is unacceptable.

And while we wait for Congress to reconvene to make a decision, we risk exposing unborn children of pregnant mothers to the devastating effects of microcephaly.

Aside from microcephaly, we still don’t even understand what other long-term effects Zika can have on the development of young children.

As recommended by our congressional delegation, including Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who are adding their advocacy on this issue, Congress needs to approve the proposed $1.9 billion necessary to combat the virus before it turns into an epidemic.

I make this request of Congress, not only as a city commissioner representing a fearful community, but also as a concerned father who still hopes to grow my own family.

Please don’t put my wife, my son and my unborn child at risk.

Please don’t put any of our families at risk.

When Congress reconvenes in September, it must fund this fight.

Francis Suarez,

commissioner, Miami