Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), spanning over 3,200 pages, appear to show a March Madness-style bracket that includes fatal diseases, crowning coronavirus as champion.
The released emails originally obtained by BuzzFeed News show the image of the bracket in one of the emails on page 1,408. The bracket is titled “Dr. Fauci’s March Madness Bracketology Picks,” the bottom of the image shows the date, March 11, 2020, and signed “—Tony F.”
The March Madness-style bracket, which coronavirus is on, shows various diseases that make up the first round. The diseases appear to be Influenza H1NI, West Nile, Ebola, Zika, coronavirus, MERS, Smallpox, and Measles. From the East region, the next round appears to show coronavirus winning against MERS and going on to face Measles. Beating Measles, coronavirus went on to face Ebola from the Mid-west region.
According to “Dr. Fauci’s March Madness Bracketology Picks,” coronavirus was the champion.
“March Madness” has been trademarked by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). This, according to the NCAA, includes a “prohibition against the display of any commercial identification within an NCAA championship bracket.”
In March every year, that “spawned a social phenomenon” where friends, co-workers, and bars usually participate in some type of low-stake bracket pool to see who can get the closest to the one in 9.2 quintillion options on winning.
"Dr. Fauci’s March Madness Bracketology Picks"
— Jacob Bliss (@jacobmbliss) June 5, 2021
The image in the released emails does not specify if this meant to be “humor among Fauci and his friends, or a published cartoon being forwarded around, isn’t clear,” as the New York Post reports. Additionally, the page the bracket is on does not include any type of header or redaction like the majority of the released emails.
However, the page includes an email signature from John T. Brooks, whose title appears to be “Cheif Medical Officer, CDC COVID-19 Response,” and his email redacted.
The Post reported that Brooks did not return the new organizations, voicemail messages, including the CDC and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which reportedly did not return a request for comment. The Post also noted, the NCAA also did not return a request for comment regarding the bracket.
Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.