A US sports medicine meeting on Monday highlighted the dire situation for those affected by the outbreak of the Zika virus, as some doctors and medical groups said they were seriously concerned about the impact of the pandemic on patients.
The meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) was organised by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), which is the US body representing the country’s medical professionals.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of doubt that the Zika pandemic is a serious health crisis,” said Dr Michael O’Brien, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
“But I don’t see it being solved by any of the things that are happening, and certainly not by any interventions that are being promoted by the administration,” he told Al Jazeera.
“There is not a single one of these interventions that is going to stop this from happening again.”
O’Brien said the US medical community is now “more focused on the Zika problem than the pandemics” and called on the US Congress to do more to stop the spread of the disease.
Dr Michael A. O’Connor, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said he was “deeply concerned” about the pandepic.
“We’re at a point where it’s not really clear what we can do to protect our citizens,” he said.
“And I don:t think we can say that we’ve really done a good job protecting the people of the US.”
“I have a lot more faith in people in the US than I do in people outside the US,” he added.
“It’s an American issue, and I believe we’ve got to do our best to protect the American people.”
The US government has offered a $1bn (£817m) response plan for Zika, but the White House has said the plan will not be fully implemented until the country has a vaccine and has an “overwhelming” response.
“The plan is to get to zero infections by 2020 and get to the point where we have zero infections and we have no further transmission,” Trump said at the Whitehouse briefing on Wednesday.
But US health officials have told Al-Jazeera they are not confident the government will be able to achieve that goal.
The White House said on Friday that US efforts to halt the spread had stalled because of the government’s failure to develop a vaccine.