Florida Gov. Rick Scott is taking President Obama to task for the lack of assistance the federal government has given the Sunshine State for its fight against the Zika outbreak, which spread to a new area of Miami this week.
The Republican governor has used more than $61 million in state funds to fight the virus, the majority of which he says has not been reimbursed by the federal government.
"We still have multiple outstanding requests to the Obama administration for important Zika resources," Scott said Thursday evening. "Today's announcement of a new area in Miami of ongoing local transmission of the Zika virus underscores the urgent need for federal funding to combat the Zika virus. It has been two weeks since federal funding to fight Zika was approved by Congress and signed by President Obama. However, Florida has not yet received a dime. We don't need bureaucratic timelines — we need funding now."
The state has faced the harshest outbreaks in the country, with more than 128 cases transmitted through mosquito bites in Miami-Dade County as of Wednesday, prompting Scott to ask for federal assistance. It is the only state with local transmission. The almost 4,000 other cases throughout the rest of the country have come from travel to countries and islands where Zika is spreading through mosquitoes.
The Zika virus causes a mild infection in most people, but it has been found to cause birth defects, including microcephaly.
In June and again in August, Scott said he asked the Obama administration for a detailed plan on how it plans to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to thwart the mosquito-borne illness. Scott asked for an additional 10,000 Zika prevention kits on Aug. 19.
Twice in September, Scott said he asked the CDC to host a call with community leaders and clinicians in Miami Beach to answer questions and an update on the virus.
"I am also continuing to call on Congress to hold a field hearing in Miami to hear directly from those who are on the frontlines of battling this virus. I most recently asked that Congress hold this hearing by Oct. 1, and while that date has passed, they need to come here immediately. The threat of Zika is real and we continue to see more cases in our state," Scott said.
He also is requesting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work directly with Miami mosquito officials to determine the best methods for fighting the virus.