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  1. #1

    The Olympics: Rio 2016 *Spoilers*

    Researchers Weigh Risks of Zika Spreading at Rio Olympics

    By SIMON ROMERO and REBECCA R. RUIZ JAN. 28, 2016

    RIO DE JANEIRO — With about 500,000 people expected to visit Brazil for the Olympics here this year, researchers are scrambling to figure how much of a risk the Games might pose in spreading the Zika virus around the world.

    Infectious disease specialists are particularly focused on the potential for Zika to spread to the United States. As many as 200,000 Americans are expected to travel to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics in August. When they return to the Northern Hemisphere and its summer heat, far more mosquitoes will be around to potentially transmit the virus in the United States.


    Brazilian researchers believe that Zika, which has been linked to severe birth defects, came to their country during another major sports event — the 2014 World Cup — when hundreds of thousands of visitors flowed into Brazil. Virus trackers here say that the strain raging in Brazil probably came from Polynesia, where an outbreak was rattling small islands around the Pacific.


    As many as 1.5 million people are believed to have contracted the virus in Brazil since then, and the authorities are now investigating thousands of reported cases of babies being born recently with brain damage and abnormally small heads. Zika has spread to more than 20 nations and territories in the Western Hemisphere, according to the World Health Organization, illustrating how quickly the epidemic can expand even without a big international gathering.


    By itself, the virus is not normally life-threatening, and most people who become infected have no symptoms at all.


    The big question is whether Zika is responsible for the huge increase in birth defects reported by doctors, hospitals and other medical officials in Brazil over the last few months. That connection has still not been proved.


    “There is more and more concern that there may be a causal relationship, but a lot of the work so far is to rule out other possible causes,” Dr. Bruce Aylward, an assistant director general at the World Health Organization, said on Thursday, adding that it might take six to nine months to know for sure.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/wo...line&te=1&_r=0
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  2. #2

    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    In Colombia, Brazil and some countries in Central America they are suggesting that women don't get pregnant during the zika outbreak. Also being discussed in Brazil is the possibility of loosening abortion regulations due to the high numbers of congenital sequels.
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  3. #3

    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    Derailing from the point so I don't get angry about the water quality down there...

    200,000 people from the US will go to the Olympics??? Wow I didn't know it was that many...that seems like it is 2% of the amount I would expect would watch from here. Hell, that is 1 out of every 5000...

  4. #4
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    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    Fencer to become first US Olympian to compete in hijab

    An American women’s saber fencer will make history at this year’s 2016 Rio Games by becoming the first U.S. athlete to compete at the Olympics in a hijab, or Muslim headscarf, after earning a bronze medal at a qualifying event over the weekend.

    Ibtihaj Muhammad, a 30-year-old who now stands in second place on the U.S. fencing national team, mathematically locked down her spot on the Olympic team after earning a bronze medal at the Athens World Cup on Saturday. She will compete in this year’s Summer Olympics, which will begin in August.

    “I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion or gender,” said Muhammad, who was quoted by TeamUsa.org. “I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance.”

    Muhammad, who failed to quality for the 2012 Olympics due to a torn ligament, will compete in the Rio Olympics in both the individual and team events along with U.S. Olympic champion Mariel Zagunis.

    Muhammad, a New Jersey native who began training at the age of 13, said she took up fencing because she liked it and because she “saw there was a lack of minorities in the sport.”

    “I recognized that I had a skill set, so I started to pursue fencing full time. I felt that it was something the squad needed. There were barriers that needed to be broken in women’s saber,” Muhammad told TeamUSA.org.

    Last July, Muhammad spoke with Al Jazeera’s “The Stream,” saying that part of her motivation for wanting to compete at the highest level of the sport comes from wanting people to hold Muslims, women and minorities in high-esteem and wanting people to "not pigeon-hole us in these boxes and say ‘this is what you’re supposed to do.'"

    "At any point I could have stopped fencing and said 'you know what these people are right, this isn’t something I should do' and I was blessed to have parents that encouraged me to be involved in sports and to try to fight those stereotypes," she told Al Jazeera.

    http://america.aljazeera.com/article...ium=SocialFlow

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    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    Will you even be able to see it under her fencer's mask?

  6. #6

    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    Translated from Portuguese by Bing
    USA Olympic Committee reported that their athletes/officials may consider not to travel @Rio2016 #zika via IG
    via @luciahoff
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




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    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Translated from Portuguese by Bing
    USA Olympic Committee reported that their athletes/officials may consider not to travel @Rio2016 #zika via IG
    via @luciahoff
    Yes. They are telling the athletes if they are uncomfortable because of the virus, not to go.

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    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    It's a mess there. I read the transportation system that is supposed to carry 300,000 people per day will not be completed until July 1. I hope they don't run late.

    Zika isn't the only illness. Dengue fever. Other mosquito borne viruses.

    Sewage in the waters with no clean-up happening.

    Obviously, a growing budget.

  9. #9
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    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    I'm confused. As viruses go, Zika is not a big deal except for pregnant women or women who are contemplating pregnancy in the near future. Sanjay Gupta was talking about it the other day, fielding questions from the public. One of the questions was how soon after having the virus can a woman get pregnant safely? If I remember correctly, he said about a month after it has run its course.

    And as for running its course, as I understand it, most people with the Zika virus don't even know they have/had it. The symptoms are not always noticeable.

    I'm not following the hysteria--except of course as it relates to the women who are being forced by their government to give birth to severely disabled children who will require intensive care until the child dies--usually at a very young age. That's a lot of suffering, and that's a lot of pain for a parent. Now THAT is a good reason to get hysterical.

  10. #10

    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    ESPN will have an Outside the Lines special on Rio this coming Sunday at 9am eastern.

    I just heard an interview with the reporter. I expected him to be spreading all sort of doomsday commentary to promote the special, but instead he was more matter of fact. Yes, it's polluted (for the record - the quantities of sewage is pretty amazing I just forget the number). Who knows if the government has actually improved it as much as they say they have. But it should be "okay." The sports that have the most direct contact with the water are in the cleanest of the 3 bodies of water being used (and he swam in it for the story he said). If I recall, the sailing is actually the worst of the venues.

  11. #11

    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    More on the water situation in Rio:

    Rio Has Given Up On Its Goal To Clean Up The Water In Time For The Olympics
    Tom Ley



    When bidding to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Jaineiro promised the International Olympics Committee that it would eliminate 80 percent of the sewage found in the city’s notoriously filthy water, and would fully regenerate the lagoon in which rowing and kayaking events will be held. Now a few months from the start of the games, Rio has given up on keeping those promises.

    Outside The Lines’ Bonnie Ford has a thorough examination of the current state of Rio’s water pollution, and things aren’t looking so great. Ford visits several areas in which the water is laden with trash, and describes being overwhelmed by the smell of raw sewage on a few occasions. She also got this quote from the Rio 2016 spokeswoman:

    “It’s not going to happen because there was not enough commitment, funds and energy,” Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada told Outside the Lines. “However, we finally got something that the bay has been missing for generations, which is public will for the cleaning.

    “Nobody wants to have guests at their house and show a dirty house. So if we’re not able to reach the target, we need to keep working until the last minute and make sure that the athletes can compete in safe waters, and we’ve been doing this.”

    That’s not a very encouraging statement, doubly so considering that independent testing done by the Associated Press suggested that the presence of viral pathogens in the water was a problem the IOC was failing to address.

    The athletes have also resigned themselves to the fact that they will be competing in water that could very well make them sick. OTL’s story cites a 2015 U.S. Olympic Committee planning document that says the committee does “not expect to anticipate major reductions in bacterial or viral pathogen levels at the competition venues.” This has left many of the athletes to take extra precautions while competing:

    The U.S. will send 48 rowers to Rio, and they will be as forewarned and forearmed as the federation can make them, starting with squeeze bottles of hand sanitizer that will be distributed on the flight to Brazil.

    Hannafin says the athletes have been asked to get hepatitis A vaccinations and polio boosters and take the oral typhoid vaccine. Their oar handles will be bleached and their boats washed inside and out after each training session or competition. Gear will be laundered at a high enough temperature to kill microbes. “Track bites”—the nicks rowers get on the backs of their calves from their sliding seats—will be cleaned and covered to reduce the chance of infection. Probiotics screened by the USOC will be on the training table.

    Should be a great Olympics.

    http://deadspin.com/rio-has-given-up...ium=socialflow
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  12. #12

    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    Regarding that 80% # - the ESPN guy said this morning that the local officials are claiming they are up to 51%, and expect to get to 60% by the Olympics. However, many people say that it is all bluster - that there has been virtually no improvement from the beginining

  13. #13

    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    USOC started plans for dealing with Rio water issues in 2015, according to memo
    Bonnie D. Ford Senior Writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine
    Enterprise and Olympic Sports

    An internal U.S. Olympic Committee document obtained by ESPN.com shows that by the fall of 2015, the organization was clearly convinced that athletes competing in water sports will be at risk of illness at the Rio Summer Games.

    The 14-page document spells out the USOC's recognition that Rio de Janeiro's overall water quality likely will not improve before the Olympics begin on Aug. 5, and emphasizes the importance of refining preventive protocols and advice for athletes.

    The unsigned Oct. 20, 2015, memo titled "USOC Rio Water Quality Planning" was generated after a meeting with the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission and other experts in Lausanne, Switzerland. The document specified that the information was not to be distributed beyond the USOC and national governing bodies for Olympic sports.

    "Water improvement plans that were projected to take place by the host organizers will not happen for the largest part," the memo read. "The initial agreement with the Rio organizers was to create multiple water treatment facilities in Rio to improve the water quality of the competition venues. These processing facilities were not built and will not be built in the immediate future to impact water quality at the Games.

    "Construction is underway to create a new sewer line that will cut off several sources of water contamination before this untreated water reaches the competition venues. The actual impact on the water quality of this project is unknown at this time, however it may help especially if there is rain during the Games.

    "There are also ongoing improvements to repair and upgrade lift stations and waste water pipelines to better allow for the movement of the effluent discharges. A recent mechanical failure of a lift station pump resulted in a spike in waterborne pathogens during a competition and these mechanical concerns are being addressed.

    "The IOC and Rio Organizing Committee recognize that the water quality in and around Rio is for the most part not at an acceptable level and there [are] significant fluctuations in the bacterial and viral contaminants at the competition venues," the memo said. "The levels of pathogens will fluctuate depending upon environmental impacts and especially with significant rains. The IOC is tracking the weather impact using historical data. Additionally the IOC and Rio organizers are studying the current flows in and around the competition venues."

    The USOC document also details various medical opinions on use of antibiotics. Many experts believe that using those medications to try to prevent infection beforehand is unwise, both because they can cause an stomach upset and could unnecessarily increase resistance at a later date.

    "The USOC as well as the Rio organizing committee will have appropriate medications to manage bacterial or viral infections," the document says.

    Also mentioned in the document is the possibility of preparing informed consent documents for athletes planning to compete in water sports in Rio. A USOC spokesman said athletes customarily sign some version of a waiver and release form, and it is possible the language will be altered to reflect specific conditions expected this summer.

    Questioned about the document last week by ESPN.com, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said the organization does not have the authority to prevent qualified athletes from competing, whether because of water quality concerns or the Zika virus epidemic.

    "If they've been fully informed and they want to go compete at the Olympic Games, how can we not support them in their efforts?" Blackmun said. "That's why we exist. If the WHO [World Health Organization] or some other body with oversight says nobody should travel to Rio, then it becomes a different question. But right now, nobody's saying that.

    "I think we started talking about [water-quality issues] a couple of years ago, honestly. This is a challenge. I think it's important for the Olympic movement to go to new places and to bring the Olympic Games to continents and countries that haven't had the opportunity to host it.

    "When you go to less developed countries, one of the outcomes is that you're going to have different conditions. Unfortunately, I think we all thought the Olympic Games could be a catalyst for improvements in Rio, and then all hell broke loose with the economy. I wish we could do something to change it. At this point in time, we can't."

    He said he has not been informed of any significant changes in water quality or infrastructure improvements since the USOC's October 2015 memo was written.

    Although not mentioned in the October 2015 document, independent water testing at competition venues was done by a private company at the USOC's behest in 2014-15 and yielded data similar to what the Brazilian authorities have published, according to two sources who requested anonymity. Testing was also performed on water at training facilities, but results were not made available to ESPN.com.

    Among the general and specific recommendations being fine-tuned for athletes and staff in water sports are: receiving a variety of vaccinations, including hepatitis A; careful cleaning and covering of any cuts and abrasions; and refraining from shaving at least 12 hours before contact with water to avoid the risk of infection. One common-sense directive -- to shower no more than 30 minutes after contact with water at a competition -- could be hard to achieve, given post-event logistics including drug testing and award ceremonies.


    Blackmun told ESPN.com that an ongoing Associated Press investigation, whose major installments were published in July and December 2015, "shined a pretty bright light" on substandard water quality in Rio, but that planning on how to protect the health of the U.S. delegation already was underway.

    The USOC is in what might be termed an awkward diplomatic situation regarding water quality and other issues in Rio. Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Games lost to Rio -- creating a potential sore-loser perception around American objections -- and the United States has another active bid in Los Angeles for 2024. A prolonged period of tension and feuding with the IOC over television and marketing revenue ended with a revenue-sharing deal in 2012. But Blackmun said the USOC hasn't and won't let those dynamics affect aggressive preparations or the information it disseminates to its delegation.

    "Our [risk-] mitigation strategy is going to be the same whether there's any political background or not, because our job is to make sure that our athletes are as informed and safe as possible," Blackmun said.

    He added that he is confident the water quality in Los Angeles will "conform to the highest standards" if that city wins the 2024 bid.

    http://espn.go.com/olympics/story/_/...-olympic-games
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




  14. #14
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    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    Clarification: I've been thinking all along that this concern over Olympic water events is limited to outdoor water events. Am I wrong about that? Is there also a concern about indoor water events?

  15. #15

    Re: The Olympics: Rio 2016

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    Clarification: I've been thinking all along that this concern over Olympic water events is limited to outdoor water events. Am I wrong about that? Is there also a concern about indoor water events?
    Outdoor events. I haven't read anything about indoor water events. I did just read that the roof was omitted from an event (swimming? diving?) and that participants will probably be eaten alive by mosquitos. It was a Tweet earlier today.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb




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