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 …

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? …

Why Believing in Monsters Is a Rite of Passage

Creatures of the Night Give Shape to Fears and Put Our Moxie to the Test

Ours was a safe neighborhood. Postwar cinderblock cottages stood unlocked in the shade of date palms that in summer cluttered our yards with vinegary, fermenting medjools and at trimming time …