As of this writing, there are 69 pregnant women in Florida who have tested positive for the Zika virus. The virus first turned up in a south Florida neighborhood, then spread to Miami Beach and today has spread to Pinellas County.
What have Republicans done about it? Well, very little in fact.
Mosquito control in the state immediately became a victim of Rick Scott's war on "big government" soon after he came into office in 2011 when he cut funding. (It has since been discovered that he has an undisclosed financial interest in mosquito control through his wife, just as he signed an executive order in June of this year allocating $26.2 million in state emergency funds for Zika preparedness, including “mosquito surveillance and abatement." Whether any of those funds are going to his wife's company is unknown and no one at the company is responding to questions about it.)
Since Zika became an issue, Republicans in Congress have blocked a Zika funding request from the President, who has had to use funds from elsewhere to fill the gap. Those funds are also running out, yet Congress is on a seven week vacation and there's little to indicate their stance on funding will change when they return. Still, that hasn't stopped politicians like Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and others from using GOP Zika inaction as a political football, in that they've played the blame game and kicked the excuses back at the President and Democrats anyway after they loaded a funding bill with poison pills aimed at further cuts to things like Planned Parenthood, one of the only places some women can afford access to reproductive health care.
For his part, Rick Scott first tried to minimize the urgency of the problem, but as it spread beyond the neighborhood of Wynwood, he got into a bout of grandstanding, according to Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County officials, who said Scott went public with information before notifying them.
Meanwhile, Rick Scott has "urged" pregnant women who are concerned about Zika to see their doctors. This is all well and good, except that Scott and Republicans have refused to expand Medicaid in Florida, have constructed hurdles to health care access in general, and have made access to abortion difficult. Scott's also gone after Planned Parenthood along with his party. So telling women to see their doctors doesn't help much if a good bit of the population of women in Florida are unable to see a doctor or can't afford to.
Then we have Marco Rubio, the Senator who made a career out of saying "no" to most anything that would benefit his constituents. He hates his job so much that he's running for it again after failing at a primary run for higher office and apparently not getting a better offer as a lobbyist. Or he would just prefer to continue getting paid for doing nothing at all in the Senate. He too tried to pin the blame on President Obama until Zika hit his home state. Now he's out pretending that he was all about Zika funding all along and is urging his GOP colleagues to pass the funding. This is an easy thing for him to do, considering everyone knows the chance of that happening is nil, so as usual, he's just talking a good game.
And while trying to satisfy voters back home, Rubio also pretzeled in an incentive to the anti-abortion voter and donor crowd by saying that pregnant women who have contracted Zika should not get abortions, which is a sticky wicket indeed for his so-called "pro-life" cred. Rubio's also a big fan of cutting off access to health care, and considering Florida hasn't expanded Medicaid, that would leave an awful lot of women and children without health care and before, during, and after they've been hurt by the Zika virus. But Rubio's not at all concerned about that.
So here we've gone from the Republican Party doing their best to contribute to conditions favorable to Zika in Florida in the first place, to their blocking funding for Zika, to playing the blame game, and then finally sounding the alarm while knowing talk is cheap when their promises have no teeth, all the while making prevention and health care that much harder for women to gain access to.
It's just business as usual by the do-nothing GOP.
And while they continue to do nothing, or very little, Zika's not going anywhere.
That's 42 cases of local Florida Zika transmission, 69 pregnant women with Zika, and counting.