Heartbreak City: Rio at Carnaval with Zika

Carnaval in Rio de Janero stats tomorrow! My heart is breaking. We have known for  more than a week now that Zika in Brazil is a big threat. But the 20-something ladies in the pre-Carnaval street parades are not even phased.  NPR interviewed some of them a day or two ago. The journalist asked each girl if she were wearing mosquito repellent. Each said no, admitted she probably should, and then shrugged it off with a guilty little laugh.

So here we are. The good news is that Mark Zuckerberg has committed Facebook to partner with Abrasco Divulga to fight Zika. But can they act fast enough to get the word CONVINCINGLY to the streets? Social media was wildfire in the Arab Spring. Can that fire be aimed at Zika in Rio starting tomorrow? If anyone can orchestrate that it would be Zuckerberg and the Facebook team. But is Carnaval on their radar?

Who else could take the battle to the Carnaval streets of Rio? How about the Catholic Church? If someone could get Pope Francis focused on this, he would make it happen. How about the leaders of every major denomination with churches in Rio? How can we get their tremendous firepower bracketed in on the streets of Rio NOW?

Finally, how can we make sure that not a single at-risk woman leaves home to fly to Rio for Carnaval this year? The media giants could launch a blitz targeting those ladies specifically. Will they?

Unfortunately, I do not have ins with the Pope, Mark Zuckerberg, the leaders of big churches, nor the media powers. But you do. You are only six degrees away! Right? Own it!


Also published on Medium.

Published by

A. Allen Rowe

Asad Abu Antun

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