May 13, 2016. That’s when Puerto Rico linked its first microcephaly case to the current Zika epidemic.
This epidemic of Zika, a virus transmitted by mosquitos and people with penises via condom-less penetrative and oral sex, started in 2015 in Brazil. For the most part, it has been painted as a Latin American problem, something “those” countries need to worry about. But it’s a U.S. problem too. Southern states—primarily Texas, Florida and California—aren’t safe, especially with Congress’ failure to pass a Zika funding bill twice—the first time 21 days ago, the second five days ago with Congress adjourning for the summer.
But Colorlines has written about that already. What we failed to mention was the territories the United States holds—Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We compiled these numbers to give you a sense of what the Zika crisis looks like in places that lay outside of the continental U.S. but are still subject to American government whims.