Mr. Picciani has also tried to minimize concerns over the mosquito-borne Zika virus, declaring that all the proper preventive measures are in place. That hasn’t stopped athletes like Jason Day, the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer, from announcing that they’re skipping the Olympics because of Zika. In an open letter last month, 150 prominent doctors, bioethicists and scientists from around the world asked for the Olympics to be moved or postponed because of the Zika epidemic.
In Brazil, these concerns are generally greeted with scorn. First, August is the middle of winter here, so the weather will be drier and cooler, meaning fewer mosquitoes. Second — and more important — the virus seems like a relatively minor problem: According to one calculation, in Rio a woman is more than 10 times more likely to be raped than catch Zika. (Men are more likely to be shot to death.)