First it was an economic crisis, then a governmental meltdown and now a public health emergency. Things aren't going too well for the organizers of the Brazil Olympics, and the torch in Rio hasn't even been lit yet. No country has faced such a variety of crises all at the same time. Some athletes are refusing to travel to Rio, with some taking precautionary measures such as Greg Rutherford freezing his sperm, but now journalists are also threatening to not attend the games. Despite the spread of Zika, the president standing down due to allegations of corruption and the worst recession to hit in over two decades, the WHO and IOC insist the show will go on. What else can they say, when millions have already been invested?
Athletes have already expressed concern about traveling to the heart of the Zika outbreak to compete in this summer’s Olympics. Now journalists are opting out entirely. Several NBC employees will not travel to Brazil to cover the games, including Today anchor Savannah Guthrie, who announced today that she’s pregnant. The CDC made a recommendation in February that women who are pregnant should not travel to Zika-affected countries, then later expanded the recommendation to include women who are considering getting pregnant. Brazil is currently experiencing one of the most serious microcephaly epidemics, which has been connected to the Zika outbreak. The New York Daily News had previously reported that several staffers have already told NBC that they will not go to Rio. According to Reuters, a “handful” of employees have elected not to cover the Olympics, and NBC respects their decisions.