A “handful” of anonymous staffers tell the News they won’t work from Rio, where the network plans to send as many as 2,000 employees to cover the games, due to concerns over the Zika virus outbreak.
Zika, which causes microcephaly in unborn babies, has also been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults. Short-term symptoms reportedly include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise and headache. Scientists are still investigating how the presumably mosquito-borne virus spreads; according to the latest research, it may also be contractable through kissing and oral sex.
The NBC employees aren’t alone in their boycott. Athletes participating in the games have also spoken out about the looming threat of Zika, among them basketball player Pau Gasol, golfer Rory McIlroy, and soccer player Hope Solo, though it’s unclear if any of them will actually withdraw from the competition. But Zika isn’t the only virus worrying athletes: Brazil’s polluted waterways mean sailors, open-water swimmers and windsurfers will essentially be competing in a pool of raw sewage.
I’ll just watch on TV, thanks!