Excitement over the long Labor Day weekend was once again tempered by the words of the United States’ top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
There is still a need for vigilance surrounding COVID-19, Fauci said in a Thursday interview with Bloomberg, particularly in the Midwest. If we gamboled without caution, went maskless, and hung out in crowds, it was entirely possible we could see a surge not unlike the outbreaks we saw after Memorial Day weekend.
It’s not exactly the tone President Donald Trump has been striking about the pandemic – whether it’s with his own words or by casually retweeting conspiracy-minded videos – which has caused some of the president’s supporters to accuse Fauci of leading a “conspiracy” with the Democrats “to perpetuate COVID deaths to hurt Trump.”
Fauci responded to those allegations in late July, saying he’s never really gotten into the whole Twitter thing, and he’s not trying to mislead anybody – which means we have to choose between the testimony of our nation’s preeminent expert on the subject of contagion and a man who once advocated killing the virus with “light inside the body.”
Besides his acumen, we as Minnesotans have at least one other reason to trust – nay, stan – Fauci, and it’s this:
When it comes to mosquitos, he does not fuck around.
Back in 2016 – the year a Zika virus outbreak was alarming public health officials everywhere – Fauci wrote a short editorial for STAT, a medical journalism publication, on what he referred to as “the great mosquito debate.”
His formal position: “Kill them.”
Fauci argues that between Zika, chikungunya, and the host of other pernicious diseases spread by the mosquito, humanity would be much better off without these tiny assholes, and we should literally murder as many as we possibly can.
“These insects cause more disease and death than any other animal on the planet,” he writes. “Getting rid of them would be a blessing.”
Especially, he writes, in places like sub-Saharan Africa, parts of South America, and Asia, where the climate propagates these bloodsuckers year-round, and they’re free to buzz, bite, and sicken around the clock. This little pest is, in fact, broadly recognized by health experts as the deadliest animal on the planet.
Arguments characterizing mosquitoes as an important part of the ecosystem do not sway him.
“People say, ‘They feed birds,’” he writes. “In a lecture I gave recently to the National Institutes of Health, I wasn’t completely joking when I said, ‘Give the birds bird feed, and get rid of the mosquitoes.’”
Although he’d be all for eradicating the mosquito from the face of the Earth entirely, “everyone with whom [he has] spoken who knows a lot about mosquito biology” says it’s not technically possible. We’ll simply have to settle for an ongoing extermination effort in places where winter doesn’t do the job for us.
If you’re curious about the subject, you can watch Fauci’s whole Zika lecture here.