The Dr. Anthony Fauci email dump includes a puzzling image — a March Madness-style tournament bracket of fatal diseases, in which coronavirus emerges as champion.
The image is titled “Dr. Fauci’s March Madness Bracketology Picks.” It is dated March 11, 2020, and signed “—Tony F.”
In the morbid pool, coronavirus — top-seeded out of the East region — defeats a field that included such dreaded diseases as Ebola, H1N1, Zika, herpes, and measles.
Whether it was a weak attempt at gallows humor among Fauci and his friends, or a published cartoon being forwarded around, isn’t clear. But the image did generate shock on social media.
During “March Madness” — the trademarked nickname for the NCAA’s annual basketball championship tournament — bar patrons and office workers commonly engage in such low-stakes “bracket” pools.
It’s not clear whether or not the bracket was sent to Fauci — the page does not include email headers or redaction marks (which are common throughout the other released records).
The page does include the apparent email signature of John T. Brooks of the federal Centers for Disease Control. Brooks’ signature notes he was Chief Medical Officer, CDC COVID-19 Response.
Brooks did not return a voicemail message. The CDC and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — which Fauci has directed since 1984 — did not return requests for comment.
The NCAA — which is famously territorial over its March Madness trademark — also did not return a request for comment.