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100 Top Doctors say 'Rio Games should be moved or postponed'


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This summer's Rio Olympics should be moved or postponed over the Zika crisis, 150 scientists have said. Just 10 weeks before the Games begin, the group has written an open letter to the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying new findings about the virus make staging the Olympics in Rio "unethical".

http://news.sky.com/story/1703221/rio-olympics-should-be-postponed-over-zika

Source : Sky News, BBC, CNN

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This is still developing -- but consider the ramifications -- when you have medical professionals warning citizens not to travel to Brazil, you can imagine that athletes will also take notice. Rory Mcilroy, has already stated he would not attend if this virus continued to spread -- such a warning from top doctors, will make this decision a lot easier.

I fear we will not see an Olympics this year.

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How many of those "100 top doctors" are experts in public health and infections diseases?? Because as far as I know, the public health experts aren't calling for changes.

Prof. Akira Akabayashi, Department of Biomedical Ethics, School of Public Health, The University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

Prof. Amir Attaran, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Community Medicine and Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Canada

Prof. Robert Baker, Bioethics Program of Clarkson University & The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Schenectady, USA

Dr. Alison Bateman-House, Division of Medical Ethics, Population Health,New York University School of Medicine, New York, USA. ; Prof. Wendy L. Wobeser, Division of Infectious Diseases, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada; Prof. Bruce Levin, Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, USA;107. Prof. Vardit Ravitsky, School of Public Health, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada; Prof. Søren Holm, Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, School of Law, University of Manchester, UK; Glenn Cohen, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, USA; Prof. Samuel R. Lucas, Department of Sociology, University of California-Berkeley, USA

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just a handful of the top doctors, you question. Maybe you should actually seek out information before posting. But yeah, they're only experts at some of the worlds top Universities - but hey, what do they know?!

Edited by Michelle
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Yea too little too late. The games won't be moved with such a short time frame, and postponement is about as less likely to happen as well. I would be more concerned about the political turmoil that right now is unpredictable and could bubble up into something worse than I would about mosquitoes that AFAIK have only killed less than 0.1% of those infected.

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Sobering stuff.

I wonder what the IOC's response will be? For instance, if postponement was on the cards, how long would they have to postpone for? :o

All this Zika business is so damned unlucky for Rio!!! :(

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Yea too little too late. The games won't be moved with such a short time frame, and postponement is about as less likely to happen as well. I would be more concerned about the political turmoil that right now is unpredictable and could bubble up into something worse than I would about mosquitoes that AFAIK have only killed less than 0.1% of those infected.

I doubt that.

The athletes will dictate this events future. If you see mass withdrawals, you can consider this event toast.

2 months out, the IOC need to show the athletes they will be safe and secure in Rio. Otherwise, you're playing Russian roulette with peoples futures.

Sobering stuff.

I wonder what the IOC's response will be? For instance, if postponement was on the cards, how long would they have to postpone for? :o

All this Zika business is so damned unlucky for Rio!!! :(

Taking a cold hard look at the situation, maybe this is not such a bad thing?

Given the current political environment and the concerns over preparations, maybe some more time would be of assistance to Rio.

Having said that, a delay to an Olympics is a massive headache the IOC can ill afford.

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The Australian Olympic Committee is comfortable with going - but to be sure will be distributing anti-zika condoms for the team: AOC team doctor says Zika risk is minimal

I'm with LatinXTC on this - I think the risk of local political disputes spilling over to the festivities is more of a concern to the organisers and IOC at the moment than Zika is. It sure wouldn't stop me booking a flight to Rio now if I had the inclination. It's not going to stop the games at this stage. Nothing short of a major deadly global pandemic is going to do that at this point in time.

Edited by Sir Rols
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The Australian Olympic Committee is comfortable with going - but to be sure will be distributing anti-zika condoms for the team: AOC team doctor says Zika risk is minimal

I'm with LatinXTC on this - I think the risk of local political disputes spilling over to the festivities is more of a concern to the organisers and IOC at the moment than Zika is. It sure wouldn't stop me booking a flight to Rio now if I had the inclination.

Good grief. This is not necessarily about the health of the individual.... but more to any future child you want/expect to have.....

Its okay for you to be so blasé.

Look at Rory MciLroys recent statement.

McIlroy said that there is going to be "a point in the next couple of years" where he and fiancee Erica Stoll may think about starting a family."Right now, I'm ready to go but I don't want anything to affect that," he said.

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​When 150+ experts come out, 2 days later, and says 'postpone' , do you seriously expect the athletes to not take notice?!

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Prof. Akira Akabayashi, Department of Biomedical Ethics, School of Public Health, The University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

Prof. Amir Attaran, School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Community Medicine and Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Canada

Prof. Robert Baker, Bioethics Program of Clarkson University & The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Schenectady, USA

Dr. Alison Bateman-House, Division of Medical Ethics, Population Health,New York University School of Medicine, New York, USA. ; Prof. Wendy L. Wobeser, Division of Infectious Diseases, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada; Prof. Bruce Levin, Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, USA;107. Prof. Vardit Ravitsky, School of Public Health, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada; Prof. Søren Holm, Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, School of Law, University of Manchester, UK; Glenn Cohen, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, USA; Prof. Samuel R. Lucas, Department of Sociology, University of California-Berkeley, USA

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just a handful of the top doctors, you question. Maybe you should actually seek out information before posting. But yeah, they're only experts at some of the worlds top Universities - but hey, what do they know?!

Just to be snitty --- did you look them up? Notice that most of them are in fields like bioethics, sociology, etc. Did you also notice that they are almost all labeled "Prof." and not "Dr.", Know why? Because they aren't doctors.

When the WHO says to shut down, it'll mean something. As am American, when the CDC says shut it down, it'll mean something. But those folks have studied it and haven't called for the games cancellation.

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There's been a handful of athletes who've said they're not going because of Zika. But these have been isolated compared to the major team expeditions that are still being organised. I believe most NOCs have, quite rightly, left it up to the individual team members to decide if they're scared off or not. C'mon, this is not exactly new. The whole Zika scare has been going on all year, along with the same type of alarmist headlines, and no NOC has yet even hinted at a withdrawal.

Doomsday scenarios are all part and parcel of the Olympic cycle. Athens wasn't going to be ready, Beijing would descend into political turmoil and/or boycotts, London was going to be in the grip of riots and terrorism fears. Sure, anything could happen, but at this stage I'd rate the Rio games being cancelled because of Zika as slightly less than my chance of winning the lottery.

Edited by Sir Rols
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Just to be snitty --- did you look them up? Notice that most of them are in fields like bioethics, sociology, etc. Did you also notice that they are almost all labeled "Prof." and not "Dr.", Know why? Because they aren't doctors.

When the WHO says to shut down, it'll mean something. As am American, when the CDC says shut it down, it'll mean something. But those folks have studied it and haven't called for the games cancellation.

This is currently the top news story in the UK, USA (CNN), Canada and other terrorities.

It is major news because everyone knows the Zika virus is serious and could have wide reaching ramifications to Rio'16.

Even if WHO do not react to this open letter, when you have disputes and open disagreements on public health and wellbeing, this can cause enough people to worry and consider if they are making the right decision in going to Brazil. There is a lot more water that needs to go under the bridge, but don't expect this to go away anytime soon.

This is serious and the IOC must take notice.

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I guess this disease only affects the able-bodied because there has been no call to move or postpone the Paralympics. It is only ever framed in an Olympic context. I wonder why that is.

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The CDC is saying there are no grounds for cancellation. The Games will go on. Until you actually see the CDC or the WHO say there is an issue. More than 5 million people visit Brazil every year. The cancellation of the Olympics will only mean about 5 to 10% of that won't be in Brazil this year. Why not call for a complete sealing off of Brazil until Zika fades and some other virus or disease gripes the media attention.

There is a reason that last major world wide pandemic was a 100 years ago. Zika is not going to change that.

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I fear we will not see an Olympics this year.

Do you actually believe that's a realistic possibility? Probably not if you actually read the article..

The letter shows a growing gap within the medical field on what to do about the Games. On Thursday, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "There is no public health reason to cancel or delay the Olympics."
The CDC's current recommendation is that pregnant women should not travel to areas where the virus is spreading and that men with the virus who have pregnant partners should use condoms when having sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
"We're working closely with the USOC and Brazilian health authorities, and will update our guidance if needed," Frieden said in a statement in response to the new letter.
The WHO released a statement saying that based on its current assessment, "canceling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus."
Good for a bunch of experts that they think the Olympics should be cancelled. Until the WHO or the CDC shows concern, file this under the usual fodder we get in the lead-up to every Olympics where you have political activism trying to shut down the Olympics. Zika certainly an issue that everyone involved needs to keep a watch on, but right now, it's not nearly serious enough to where postponing or cancelling the Olympics is going to be a consideration.
When 150+ experts come out, 2 days later, and says 'postpone' , do you seriously expect the athletes to not take notice?!

Yes, I seriously expect the athletes not to take notice. If the WHO or CDC says postpone, they'll take notice. But when the WHO and CDC are shooting down these "experts," who do you expect the athletes to listen to? They've trained for years and now they're supposed to give up on that? Not a chance.

And good for Rory McIlroy that he's taking the threat seriously. He can join the growing list of golfers who are not playing in the Olympics, none of which have cited Zika as a reason but rather are taking issue with the scheduling. So this may well just be a convenient excuse for McIlroy to not have to make the trip to Rio.

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Someone mentioned this in another thread, but yeah, there's this magical thing called insect repellant. If athletes don't want to risk getting Zika, then they can not go. And if they really want to go, then they can use insect repellent. No one's forcing them to go or not use repellent.

I'm sorry, but I don't think postponing the games is worth the headache. The Olympics is something that requires years of planning, for the city, country, IOC, NOC's, media, etc. It's not worth ot to throw all that planning out the window over something that can be easily prevented and concerns only a small group of people.

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hehe, lol, haha.

Yeah, this topic is just hilarious. You have some growing up to do, kid.

This is totally unfair. If anyone needs to grow up, it's you. If you had any understanding of the how the IOC and its stakeholders operate, you would know that there is a 0% chance that the Games are moved. Too many individuals have skin in the game and have made heavy investments in these Olympics and Paralympics (you're welcome BTHarner) for them to be moved or cancelled.

To top it off, plenty of people have posted articles on here citing that the virus will not be a legitimate issue.

Edited by ofan
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No wonder I do not post on these boards any more in great number. You cannot reason with Olympic fanatics. Even if WW3 broke out in Latin America this summer, we'd still hear calls of "that's life".

Big world out there folks. Bigger than even the Olympic Games. Back into your bubbles, though.

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The trouble here - from my point of view as someone who is absolutely not an expert - is that even the experts are divided.

And that's because it's a question of where to draw the line, not a simple question of what's right and what's wrong. Given that the Olympics represents fewer than 10% of foreign visitors and the risk of mosquito borne diseases is at its lowest in July and August in Brazil, it would seem odd to suddenly close the country off for those two months and only for Olympic visitors whilst letting the other 90% in. On the other hand, if you're of the mind that any extra risk is irresponsible and that the athletes effectively have no choice and somebody should be making decisions for them, then you're going to support postponement.

I think unless you have a proper understanding, or else are averse to any kind of increased risk no matter how big or small, it's difficult to know which side to stand. I'm pleading ignorance. I'm not ashamed to admit I have nowhere near enough knowledge to make an informed judgement on this one!

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