Almost a year ago, the World Health Organization declared the Zika epidemic a global health emergency, calling for an epic campaign against a virus that few had ever heard of. As it spread to almost every country in the Western Hemisphere, scientists and health officials at every level of government swung into action, trying to understand how the infection caused birth defects and how it could be stopped.
The W.H.O. ended the emergency status in November, but the consequences of the outbreak will be with us for years to come. So maybe now is a good time to ask: How’d we do?
Not so great, according to more than a dozen public health experts who were asked to reflect on the response. The battle was a series of missed opportunities, they said, that damaged still-uncounted numbers of babies across a whole hemisphere.