Zika season is all but upon us, and to that end Gov. Rick Scott visited Jacksonville Tuesday to discuss Florida’s ongoing struggles with Zika.
Scott found himself messaging heavily around Zika in 2016, frustrated with President Barack Obama not doing as much as he could to fund Zika-related costs.
In 2017, Scott has an ally in the White House — which, combined with a dry season so far and ample lead time, is helping Florida to get ahead of the virus early in the season.
In the gaggle Tuesday, Gov. Scott confirmed the expectation that D.C. would be a better partner for him in the Zika fight with the current President on the job.
“The positive is I’ve known [HHS] Secretary Price a long time. We were asking for support last year. Sometimes we felt it was hard to get support. We’ve gotten more support so far,” Scott said.
“I’ve talked to Sec. Price about Zika, and the importance of staying ahead of this,” Scott added, “and I believe we’re going to have a good partner in the White House.”
“Specifically, the things that were important to us last year — as you know, we fought for federal funding, the $1.1B. What’s going to be important long-term is a vaccine,” Scott said.
“I believe that HHS is going to be a good partner. I think we’re going to have somebody who’s going to be responsive to the extent they can,” Scott added.
Zika may seem remote now, but it will be an issue soon, Scott urges.
“Right now, we’ve got the issue of fires,” Scott said, “but at some point we’re going to get some rain. And that’s when we’re going to get mosquitoes.”
Hence, the importance of a collaborative response.
“We don’t have active zones this year … actually, we’re seeing less Zika cases because it’s dry. But it’s still early,” Scott noted.
Local Departments of Health are testing pregnant women currently, despite the earliness in the season. And the technology is in state now, cutting a long wait time that has now been resolved.