If there’s one piece of non-football programming that has captured the public’s attention in recent weeks, it’s The Last of Us.
Here’s where healthcare comes into play: the plot revolves around survivors fighting for their existence in an American wasteland decimated by a global pandemic.
The cause of the outbreak are cordyceps, a real-life type of parasitic fungi that grows on the larvae of insects, according to Healthline. However, in the show, this fungus can infect humans and turn them into zombies.
Now, this scenario makes for a very compelling — if not outright terrifying — TV series. But this also offers a moment to pause and ask the burning question on all of our minds: Are mushrooms going to kill us?
Much has been written about the level of public concern over whether a situation in The Last of Us could come to pass, especially in light of our most recent global pandemic.
However, it should be noted that numerous articles in the mainstream press have assessed the potential concern and downplayed the looming risk of a zombie fungus apocalypse on the horizon.
An expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told The Hill that the idea of a pandemic spurred by fungal infections was “pretty far-fetched,” adding that the spread of disease between mushrooms is not comparable to the spread of COVID-19.
Similarly, a mycology expert told NPR fungi cannot infect humans due to our high body temperature, adding that though there are more fungal infections occurring in humans, “none of them are cordyceps.”
Meanwhile, Axios analyzed the implications for the newfound popularity of mushrooms, with an industry spokesperson noting that they remain “confident that people will continue to load their plates with delicious, nutritious and fresh mushrooms.”
So as it stands right now, people can continue enjoying some premium cable TV without worrying that the mushrooms we have with dinner are going to lead to worldwide devastation.