Tag Archives: Olympics

The Doctor’s Get Their “Say” About Rio 2016

 

The Doctor’s Get Their “Say” About Rio 2016

by Amy Lignor

 

The news headlines have been constant; the pictures have been awful. There is no way to hide the fact that our men and women athletes will be walking directly into – not to mention, the rest of the world’s athletes who are coming to win their Olympic medals from all corners of the earth – the Rio 2016, Olympics, Zika virus, global health, Centers for Disease Control, ethics, public health emergency, WHO, moneyrapid spread of the Zika virus. Although debates have gone back and forth, the Olympics are still being held in Rio, causing the concerns of spreading the virus to steadily go off the charts. In other words, the people who run the Olympics and the ones who run Rio have stated that it’s clean “enough” and that nothing bad will happen. Oddly enough, these same people in power have not jumped in to go for a swim in order to prove that their claims are correct.

 

Now, a group of 150 doctors, scientists and bioethicists have joined together to write a letter, which was sent to the World Health Organization, stating that the Rio Olympics must be postponed or moved completely. Citing very definite concerns and factual evidence about furthering the spread of the virus, the group is also questioning the WHO. They are wondering if the WHO is simply rejecting all advice and requests to move the Olympics because they somehow have a conflict of interest (in other words, an agreement of business/money) with the International Olympic Committee already set in place.

 

This is all about global health. Even sport shows like, “Mike & Mike” on ESPN have offered the people in power in Rio money to take themselves and their families into the disgusting waters that reside there. So far, no takers.

 

This group’s letter was put in perfect context. “Currently, many athletes, delegations, and journalists are struggling with the decision of whether to participate in the Rio 2016 Games. We agree with the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control) recommendation that workers should ‘consider delaying travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission’. If that advice were followed uniformly, no athlete would have to choose between risking disease and participating in a competition that many have trained for their whole lives.”

 

It is apparent with the research that the possibility of Olympic travelers acquiring the Zika virus in Rio, and then returning home, especially to currently unaffected areas, will bring it back with them. And once it begins, it will run rampant. As far as this group is concerned, the risk is not only stupid, it’s unethical. Just so the Olympic Games can move forward and Rio can make some cash, it seems that no one understands that it could be postponed or moved to another place quite easily.

 

The World Health Organization answered almost immediately, which means it looks dangerously like they have made up their minds and nothing at this point will matter. The frightening part is that their return statement included this: “Based on current assessment, cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus. Brazil is one of almost 60 countries and territories which to-date report continuing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes. People continue to travel between these countries and territories for a variety of reasons. The best way to reduce risk of disease is to follow public health and travel advice.”

 

These words came from the same organization that declared the Zika virus an international public health emergency back in February, with Brazil being one of the countries hardest hit…up until now, anyway.

 

The still-talking Olympic organizers have been sending in pictures and discussing how they have been patrolling Rio for months; working to remove all standing water where this particular mosquito can breed. They also continually talk about the fact that being winter in Rio, the virus is not as likely to be contracted and spread during Game time.

 

The CDC, however, has already issued their statement telling pregnant women not to go to Rio. For those who decide to go anyway; they further advise that long sleeves and pants treated with insect repellant is a must, and that staying in air-conditioned locales the whole time needs to be done.

 

But the medical/science group definitely wants WHO to reconsider. Even if the individual risk is lower in the winter, they say that the risk to an entire population is “undeniably high.” Rio de Janeiro is highly affected at the moment; its health is weak, and the city has cut funding against mosquito-borne diseases.

 

In millions of minds, Rio not bending an inch is simply because they want the cash that the Olympics brings. On the other side of the fence, there is a spirit to the Olympics that makes people want to be a part of them. The athletes will risk anything to vie for the medals they have so long been training to capture.

 

But when taking the need, desire and – oh, yes, the money for the country away – you are left with a public health danger that could reach worldwide. By not postponing or outright moving the Games from Rio, health, welfare and ethical consequences will go from being extremely irresponsible into a downright nightmare.

Source:  Baret News

The Waters Run Dark for the Olympics

 

The Waters Run Dark for the Olympics

~ Amy Lignor

 

The argument between the EPA and various governing bodies from the state of Colorado to the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah – you name it – has been taking over the headlines. This came about because of an EPA project to open up an old gold mine in Colorado, releasing horrific water filled with leads and poisonous chemicals out into the creeks which now has the Animas River, as

An woman dropping her tea-cup in horror upon discovering the monstrous contents of a magnified drop of Thames water; revealing the impurity of London drinking water. Coloured etching by W. Heath, 1828.
An woman dropping her tea-cup in horror upon discovering the monstrous contents of a magnified drop of Thames water; revealing the impurity of London drinking water. Coloured etching by W. Heath, 1828.

well as many others in trouble, and the Native American community up in arms. This is one “dirty water” accident that will take who knows how long to clean up…even though the ones in “charge” stated at the beginning that it was basically not a problem and would be a “non-issue” in a jiffy.

 

Well, now, dirty water headlines are reaching even further. Although the debate regarding the water quality in Rio where the Olympics will be held next year, has been stated before, things have escalated. In fact, just this week, the head of swimming’s governing body said dirty water in Rio “is not a big problem.” Athletes even shrugged off the reality of competing in water that could make them extremely ill. Can’t blame the athletes, really. The Olympic dream is huge.

 

You can blame the International Olympic Committee that, at the beginning, was “shrugging off” the reality that the water in Rio is disgusting, and will make people sick. Now, the IOC said on Sunday that it will order testing for viruses that cause diseases in the sewage-polluted waters where athletes will compete. This is a change in their original statement, considering that before all this hubbub was raised, the Committee and the local Olympic organizers in Rio said they would test the waters, but only for bacteria. (Apparently, Brazil’s mandates regarding testing for water safety only require them to do that.)

 

From the Associated Press to the beloved Mike & Mike (sports program) running in the U.S. – where they actually challenged IOC Committee members to swim in the horrific water with their families, and send Mike & Mike pictures, because they wanted to see if they would do it – everyone is up in arms about this mess. High counts of viruses that are linked to human refuse were found in the waters of Rio where Olympic athletes will be competing. Thus, the Committee was basically told by the World Health Organization (WHO) that testing of the waters needed to be expanded to include much more than just bacteria testing. Viral testing is now necessary. It was the International Sailing Federation that first announced they would even do their own independent tests for viruses if the IOC did not comply. (They are still moving ahead with their own tests.)

 

The Associated Press did a five-month test that focused on the waters at each of the venues where athletes will have to have direct contact with substances that may hold very high levels of viruses from the sewage. After they were through with these initial tests, they could not find one – not even one – venue safe for swimming or boating. When you have findings that show any person, athlete or not, that ingests only three teaspoons of this water would have a 99% chance of being infected by a virus, then you know Rio is going to be under massive scrutiny; and should be.

 

It was already known that in Rio, a majority of sewage goes completely untended and ends up flowing down ditches and streams, carrying everything from the waste of households to dead animals into the Olympic waters.

 

This is an issue that could literally, if not corrected, cause many to boycott the games in order to keep their athletes healthy. Visitors will cancel trips, money will be lost… In other words, if Rio wants a success, they will have to put in the time and money necessary to make the waters clean.

 

cc.large Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London

 

Source:  Baret News Wire

The Competitive Runner

The Competitive Runner

~ ZZ Troutski

 

downloadWalking is the healthiest sport you can be a part of in the physical fitness realm, but for many people the run through the forest or the pounding of their sneakers on the blacktop is their number one choice for losing weight, while getting back to nature.

 

The life of the runner is exciting, even though some see long-distance running as a bit of a bore. But let’s be real; when you head out on a long-distance run you’re embarking a brand new journey. Whether it be on city streets, or deep within that peaceful forest in a small town, running is a perfect way to explore the world.

 

When it comes to competition, the marathon is the epitome of fun and work; a true event for the lover of the outdoors who chooses to use their feet as the right w to travel. As with everything in the sports world, the marathon came from Greece. The event was actually created to honor a fabled run taken by a Greek soldier who was running to Athens to deliver some news.

 

This particular runner was moving fast in order to tell the people of Athens that they had been victorious in the Battle of Marathon. He was sent from the battlefield to alert one and all that the Persians were the losers. You couldn’t have a better ending to that particular run.

 

As with all Greek tales, this was one heck of a runner. The records (story), states that he ran the entire distance without stopping. And when he arrived at Athens, he said his peace and tragedy occurred when he then collapsed and died. Yes, this is a Greek tragedy after all, but the poor man did have to run a distance of 150 miles without stopping. Put that up against the 26 miles of a marathon runner, and you gotta give the guy credit.

 

There are more than 500 events held each and every year to aide the marathon runner in striving for success. Competitors are not ‘stars’ in the world of sports; in fact, most are recreational athletes and outdoor lovers who simply want to be a part of nature and competition.

 

In 1896, the Olympic organizers wanted to relive the ancient glory of Greece, so the Greeks put together a selection race. When the actual race was run, ‘Spyros’ Louis – a man who held the job title of Greek water-carrier – won in two hours and fifty-eight minutes. (His speed most likely came from the fact that he didn’t have to carry the water while he ran). When it comes to the female population, it wasn’t until 1984 that a women’s marathon was introduced at the Olympics…and U.S. runner, Joan Benoit, took the gold.

 

The Olympics was just the first, however, to bring long-distance running events to the world. And passion for long-distance running continues to grow. But when it comes to health and safety, people should be aware of certain things when they decide to prepare themselves for a marathon.

 

Training, of course, is a must. Everyone knows that 26-plus miles is not going to come easy, so training on the actual path of the marathon is recommended in order to get used to what you will be facing come race day.

 

But whether it be a competition, or just enjoying the beauty that the world has to offer, always make sure to have a good time!