Via RollCall.com: In Puerto Rico, One Expectant Mother's Zika 'Nightmare'. Excerpt:
In Florida, the first case of a baby born with Zika-related microcephaly — an abnormally small head — was confirmed on Tuesday, bringing the total in the 50 states and the District of Columbia to five.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats spent the day killing $1.1 billion in funding to fight the mosquito-borne virus. (This over GOP provisions involving the Confederate flag, a ban on any Zika-related funding going to Planned Parenthood, and a proposal that would have weakened environmental restrictions on the use of insecticides.) Now, the Senate won't even consider Zika funding again until July 7 at the earliest, after the Fourth of July recess.
In San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday, however, 32-year-old Ceciliana Carrion, who is expecting her first child in October, spent the day the way she’s spent every day for months now — feeling “very paranoid; it’s like a nightmare.”
If there had been about 1,800 Zika cases in New York or Illinois instead of on Carrion's equally American home turf, would Congress really be heading off to picnic without having taken any action beyond blaming the other party? Carrion, after all, doesn't get a holiday from her worries.
“Here’s my routine,’’ to avoid the virus that both her mother and her sister have contracted, said Carrion, the accounts director for an ad agency. “I wake up every morning covered literally from head to toe with every sort of cream and oil you can imagine” to repel the mosquitoes, after yet another night of frightening dreams. “It’s pretty awful, and it’s just as bad for my husband.”
During the week, she’s in an air-conditioned office all day, but any time she ventures outdoors, she wears long sleeves and pants no matter what the temperature, “which is incredibly uncomfortable, but there’s no possibility of wearing a cute little colored dress,” she said.
Not that fashion is high on her list of concerns, of course; it’s the fear of the serious birth defects associated with Zika that have her so on edge.
Carrion reeled off a list of four repellents she uses, in addition to wearing a mosquito-repellent bracelet with yellow coils that give off citronella, and a small fan that “creates a [bug-free] bubble around you. I put it on the outside of my purse or clipped on my sandal.’’
In other words, what should be a happy time is so filled with anxiety, Carrion said, that at one point, “I told my father, ‘Send me to New York until the baby!’” But then, she didn’t want to leave her husband and couldn’t just walk out on her job, so while she waits to deliver, she feels like a little bit of a prisoner on her beautiful home island.