Will The Zika Virus Derail the 2016 Olympics In Brazil?

Hosting the Olympic Games is a big deal, it puts nations on the map, and shows their first world status – it’s a big honor, and it is very costly – not all nations can afford to even consider it, and those who do, often have to cough up big bucks to host the games and deal with the economic costs later, paying off the debt and bonds taken out to make it all happen. In hindsight many countries wish they’d reconsidered their choice to bid for the big games. Brazil will host the 2016 Olympic Games, but already the troubles are mounting. Let’s talk.

Well now everyone is worried about the Zika Virus in Latin America, and specifically 2016 Olympic Game tourists are considering skipping the trip, which could plague havoc on the financial challenges that Brazil already faces with a declining economy and negative GDP growth. One article in the Daily Mail published on January 30, 2016 titled; “Could rampant Zika virus that causes deformed babies stop the Olympics? Rio faces crisis as female spectators and athletes are warned not to go,” by Flora Drury stated; four new important developments to this crisis:

– Panic is spreading with six months to go until the Opening Ceremony

– Australian team tells female athletes to consider taking part ‘very carefully’

– Airlines offering refunds to pregnant women travelling to infected countries

– Government says they are doing everything possible ahead of the Games

Of course, this isn’t the only problem as the Brazilian Government has displaced slums for Olympic facilities development and moved to generally clean up crime ridden areas to prevent negative PR on the world stage during the games. All this has already come at a cost to its international reputation across the globe, perhaps similar to the smog and air-pollution issue before and during the Beijing China Olympic Games.

The Guardian reported the Brazilian Police are moving in to clean up areas where Olympic Visitors may travel; “Rio de Janeiro police killed 1,500 in five years, says Amnesty International,” and the article stated; “Rights group report finds almost one in six homicides in Brazil’s Olympic city were by officers on duty and most victims were young, poor, black and male,” and further;

“In a study of official data and newspaper reports of the Olympic host city, the civil rights groups found that almost one in six homicides were carried out by on-duty policy officers as part of a “strategy of fear” in favela communities. It said more than 75% of the victims from 2010 to 2013 were black men aged between 15 and 29. Most cases were filed as “resistance followed by death” which shields the perpetrators from civilian courts. Of 220 investigation, Amnesty found only one case that led to an officer being charged.”

Now some are asking not if the Games will lose money in Brazil, but rather how much. That’s unfortunate, and something to consider. Think on it.