Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes Fly Free as Health Departments Focus on Coronavirus

Bug spray, swollen welts, citronella. It’s mosquito season.

And in a normal year, the health department serving Ohio’s Delaware County would be setting out more than 90 mosquito traps a week — black tubs of stagnant water with nets designed to ensnare the little buggers.

But this year, because of COVID-19, the mosquitoes will fly free.

The coronavirus has pulled the staffers away, so they haven’t set a single trap yet this year, according to Dustin Kent, the program manager of the residential services unit. Even if workers had the time, the state lab that typically tests the insects for viruses that infect humans isn’t able to take the samples because it also is too busy with COVID-19.

That means the surrounding community, just north of Columbus, Ohio, has to wait until potentially deadly mosquito-borne illnesses such as that caused by the West Nile virus sicken humans to find out

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