What We're Reading: Soda Tax in Seattle; Zika in Puerto Rico; Health Inequality in the US

Seattle Approves Tax on Sugary Beverages

Distributors of sugary beverages, such as soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks, will have to pay a tax of 1.75 cents per ounce in the city of Seattle. The measure passed the Seattle City Council by a 7-1 vote, reported Associated Press. The money raised from the tax will be used to fund healthy food and education programs. However, opponents of the tax worry it will hurt small businesses, potentially cost jobs, and affect low-income consumers the most. The tax excludes diet drinks.

Zika Epidemic Ends in Puerto Rico

The peak of the Zika epidemic in Puerto Rico came in August 2016, and officials are finally declaring an end to the epidemic now that substantially fewer cases were reported this spring. According to The Washington Post, in each 4-week period since April, there have only been 10 cases, down from more than 8000 reported in a 4-week period during the height of the epidemic. Among the confirmed cases of Zika infection were 3678 pregnant women and only 35 Zika-related birth defects, prompting concerns of underreporting of birth defects.

America’s Great Health Inequality Divide

The difference between health outcomes of the richest and poorest in America is one of the worst in the world. A new study found that people in households making less than $22,500 a year were more than 3 times as likely to report health troubles as people in households making more than $47,700 a year. Of the 32 rich and middle-income countries studied, only Chile and Portugal had a bigger gap. The study was conducted just before major policies of the Affordable Care Act were enacted.