As the Zika battles continue across South Florida, politicians on both sides of the aisle are asking for help – and seemingly blaming the other side for the continuing struggles in combating the disease.
Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine, just days after his city announced their first confirmed cases of Zika, pleaded for federal funding to help fight the virus Monday. He was joined at a press conference by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who urged Congress to gavel back into session and address funding for the fight.
President Obama asked for nearly $2 billion in emergency funding to fight Zika, but Congressional members adjourned for a seven week vacation before the issue could be voted on.
Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Rick Scott was joined in Wynwood by the state’s Agricultural Commissioner, Adam Putnam, at a school in the area that was first hit hard by Zika. The area north of Downtown Miami has been struggling to regain visitors and customers since the federal government issued advisories for people to avoid the area.
South Florida Officials Criticize Gov. Scott Over Zika
Scott visited Jose de Diego School before announcing that $5 million in additional Zika preparedness funding will be allocated to Miami-Dade.
Scott has consistently been critical of the Obama administration, saying they should have been doing more to help fund the state’s fight.
Earlier Monday, Levine criticized Scott for controlling all of the Zika information and not looping local officials in about what's going on.
"The governor made, I believe a big mistake by not speaking with the folks that are on the ground, myself, Mayor Gimenez, informing us and telling us what he knows," Levine said. "He not only blindsided me, he blindsided our administration, the county administration, I think he blindsided everybody."
"What's important here is the health of our citizens, through our Department of Health, which is the only agency that can confirm whether an individual has Zika, we are timely and accurate with our information," Gov. Scott said.
Friday, the CDC extended that warning to include a 20 block section of Miami Beach as well as the original area in Wynwood. Through Thursday, 479 travel related cases of Zika have been discovered in Florida with 35 additional cases being non-travel related.