The Rio Olympics has come and gone. From the opening to the closing ceremonies it was a resounding success. All the fear-mongering about Zika was revealed for what it was —baseless fear-mongering. I read many reports and spent countless hours watching the games and there was nary a mention about Zika except, perhaps, to wonder what the fuss was all about.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

dolarve.com
Not a single athlete or spectator mentioned he/she was worried because, I suppose, there was nothing to worry about.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

www.entornointeligente.com
Zika fears were simply a non-issue in Rio.

Compare that to what obtained in the lead-up to the games.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

www.vediario.com
People were predicting how many athletes would contract Zika and advising the International Olympic Committee to cancel the Games.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

noticias-venezuela.com
In an open letter to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the four authors and 200-odd signatories, described as “leading scientists”, made a call “for the Rio 2016 Games to be postponed and/or moved to another location in the name of public health”.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

enlasgradas.com
They said that “the Olympics are different because they summon travellers from literally every country in the world and can spread infection with unsurpassable efficiency”.

They even took a pot-shot at Brazil, claiming that “the historic turbulence in Brazil’s economy, governance, and society at large makes the Zika problem all but impossible to solve with the games fast approaching”.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

dolarve.com
What Zika problem? The authors also claimed that “An unnecessary risk is posed when 500,000 foreign tourists from all countries attend the games, potentially acquire that strain (of Zika), and return home to places where it can become endemic.” Boy, did Brazil give the lie to the nonsense these “scientists” were spouting by hosting one of the most successful games ever, with no one contracting Zika and, of course, no one taking Zika back to his/her home country to create a pandemic.

The authors chided the WHO that “It is unethical to run the risk, just for games that could proceed anyway, if postponed and/or moved.” And these ivory-towered “scientists” really believed that it was so easy to postpone/move the “fast-approaching” games after most (athletes, officials, spectators, journalists, TV crews) had already made arrangements to be in Rio?

The letter claimed that “Currently, many athletes, delegations, and journalists are struggling with the decision of whether to participate in the Rio 2016 games.” That was simply not true.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

noticias-venezuela.com
A few (not many) expressed reservations but only because they (like the scientists) believed the misinformation they were fed about Zika.

The most prominent athletes not to attend Rio because of Zika fears were the top four male golfers—Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

mundinews.com
All the top female golfers—Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson, Lexi Thompson and the eventual winner, Inbee Park—went to Rio.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

Given that the women were much more likely to get pregnant than the men, it shows that they were smarter, or maybe they just had more golf balls than the men? And, of course, all the golfers who played in Rio could not have been more enthusiastic in their praise for the event and their wonderful experience.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

As Justin Rose (gold medal) commented, “This was my number one priority.”

To its eternal credit, the WHO rejected the call to move/postpone the Games.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

I suppose the WHO knew something the “scientists” didn’t—that the “Zika crisis” was not the problem it was made out to be.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

Perhaps the WHO had read the February 2016 report in the Jerusalem Post from the University of Haifa in Israel that found “Women exposed to petrochemical pollution have babies with smaller heads.” Not that this was news.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

It is well-known that there are 25,000 annual cases of microcephaly in the US. The cause is well-known and it is not Zika. The YouTube video “ten Americans” by Environmental Working Group describes a study in which hundreds of chemicals were found in unborn babies.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

Inference: spraying toxic chemicals on the population is not a good idea.

Or maybe the WHO was familiar with the June 15 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, authored by 27 doctors/scientists who studied “11,944 pregnant women with Zika virus disease” in Colombia.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

They found that none of the women had a baby with microcephaly. For those still pregnant, the study concluded thus: “Preliminary surveillance data in Colombia suggest that maternal infection with the Zika virus during the third trimester of pregnancy is not linked to structural abnormalities in the foetus.” The study is ongoing.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

The Zika hype is a wonderful demonstration of the magician’s art of misdirection, to divert attention away from the true causes of microcephaly.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

Zika may yet prove to be a cause for concern but, so far, the data does not support this. A true scientist lets the data talk to him/her, not decide beforehand what he/she wants the data to reveal.

One last thought.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

If Zika were a vaccine and ordinary people were claiming it caused microcephaly, the FDA, CDC and WHO would have used the current data to reject such claims and “prove” that the vaccine was not to blame.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

They would have cited 12,000 pregnant women with Zika in Colombia and said, “See, no case of microcephaly.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

What more proof do you want?” That would have made front-page news in all the mainstream media. But the agenda is different here, to protect the polluters, and they are determined to make Zika the fall guy, so they blow up the flimsiest of evidence for, while they ignore or try to discredit the large body of evidence against.

.

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás González

© Tomás Elías González

© Tomás Elías González Benítez

Tags: Zika