Seeking a SWAT team: Schumer urges feds to help combat NYC’s growing mosquito problem

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is telling mosquitos to buzz off.
Photo by Dean Moses

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is buzzing to get federal funds in hopes of swatting away one of the worst mosquito seasons New York City has ever seen.

The Big Apple is swiftly becoming the “bug apple” thanks to its pest problem, the Senator explained on Sunday, Sept. 19. While bloodthirsty mosquitoes are merely an inconvenience for many city dwellers, the impact on New Yorkers is far more severe than tingling, sore bites.

Data obtained by Schumer reveals that every borough in the city has seen a case of West Nile virus this year, a potentially deadly mosquito-borne illness first detected in the Five Boroughs more than 20 years ago.

“There has been one thing on the frontrunner for the last year, as it should have been, which is of course COVID-19. But there is another bug plague in New York that we have to be vigilant about, we have to nip it in the bud, so it doesn’t spread. It is this awful critter,” Schumer said, holding up a photograph of a mosquito. “Even more concerning, these mosquitoes can spread the deadly West Nile virus and here is the thing that is troubling: they have found over a thousand pools that contain West Nile virus.”

Climate change is also impacting mosquito breeding, Schumer noted, causing these pests to propagate well beyond summer, with the potential for continuing the mosquito season deep into fall.

Now Schumer hopes the federal government will step in to help New York City keep the parasites at bay, with additional resources from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“I am calling upon the federal government to take a two-pronged approach to deal with the potential West Nile virus danger that looms over our city,” Schumer said.

Schumer’s asking the CDC to give New York high priority funds to fight the virus with the promise that he will return the favor by increasing their budget by 61% in 2022. With mosquitos being air born, he also affirmed that they can easily spread the virus to other pools of water.

“New York is itching to end this mosquito problem and we are going to provide the dollars so we can scratch that itch,” Schumer said.

Schumer says that climate change has caused swarms of mosquitos to continue feeding well into the fall months. Photo by Dean Moses