Stop Blaming Bats for This Pandemic

Misguided Fears of These Flying Mammals Distract From the Real Reasons New Viruses Can Lead to Epidemics

It has been a bad decade for bats. Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, they were already in severe decline worldwide. Now, they are blamed as the culprits behind one of the costliest pandemics in modern history, even though the source and method of transmission haven’t been identified. Although scientists have an obligation to promptly disclose new threats, premature speculation about bats has been exaggerated in attention-grabbing media headlines. The result has been needless confusion, leading to the demonization, eviction, and slaughtering of bats even where they are most needed.

As …

In Bad Times, Every Dog Is a ‘Very Good Dog’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In Bad Times, Every Dog Is a ‘Very Good Dog’

As Dogs Help Us Weather the Emotions of a Global Pandemic, We Should Reconsider What We Owe Them

I have found myself looking at Bella with great envy these past few weeks. As I try to tamp down my panic and get work done, Bella naps in her …

Quarantine Me at Asilomar! | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Quarantine Me at Asilomar!

This Monterey County State Park Is a Rare Spot for Californians to Find Refuge and Connection 

Quarantine me as long as you like. Just make sure you quarantine me at Asilomar.

For this peculiar time, there may be no more desirable California place than that small strip …

Just Before Madrid’s Quarantine Began, Getting a Last Look at Goya | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Just Before Madrid’s Quarantine Began, Getting a Last Look at Goya

In Times of Uncertainty, Art Is a Reminder That Beauty Can Endure

The day the Spanish government announced a two-week closure of all schools and colleges in Madrid due to coronavirus, I was in Berkana, the city’s oldest gay bookstore, considering whether …

Leprosy Demonstrates How Fears of Disease Spread—and Then Live Forever | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Leprosy Demonstrates How Fears of Disease Spread—and Then Live Forever

From Hawai‘i to China to Europe, This Ancient Malady Has Long Been a Magnet for Wider Political and Cultural Anxieties

What is it, exactly? How do you catch it? How do you diagnose it? How do you treat it? Can it be cured? If not, how do you manage it? …