Trevor Noah Perfectly Summed up Americans' Ignorance of the Zika Virus

February 2nd 2016

Alex Mierjeski

Despite being declared a global health emergency, and reports of a sexually transmitted case in Dallas, Americans appear to be reacting to Zika virus with much less concern than the rest of the planet.

And on Monday night, "The Daily Show" host Trevor Noah called them out for sounding characteristically privileged in their approach.

Trevor Noah on Zika

Noah compared the virus to soccer in terms of popularity: explosive in Central and South America, and only tepid in North America. Outside of the U.S., the virus poses legitimate health threats. In Brazil alone, some 4,000 cases of the related condition, microcephaly, which causes underdeveloped head and brain size in babies, have already been reported. Twenty-five other Latin American countries have reported cases of the condition, and officials are advising women there to delay pregnancies for up to two years.

But in the U.S., the Zika scare has taken the form of a spooky inconvenience, Noah said, characterized largely by travel advisories for pregnant women. Noah pointed to one clip of a woman complaining that the outbreak of the virus had thrown a wrench in her "babymoon" plans.


"My main concern was cancelling the flight, and being able to receive some sort of a refund," the woman told NBC in the clip.

"Yeah, of course: your babymoon. You poor, poor, relatively rich woman," Noah quipped.

Travel Advisories

But news from Dallas indicates Americans could start caring about Zika virus more than ever before. On Monday, the first reported transmission of the Zika virus, an infection thought to only be spread by mosquitos, was reported in Dallas, Texas. On Tuesday, Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed that the patient became infected after having sex with someone who had returned from Venezuela

Data curated by HealthGrove

"Now that we know Zika virus can be transmitted through sex, this increases our awareness campaign in educating the public about protecting themselves and others," Zachary Thompson, Dallas County Health and Human Services director, told a local Fox affiliate. "Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections."

The news follows the announcement on Monday that the World Health Organization is now considering the Zika virus a global public health emergency.

Watch the full "Daily Show" segment below.