The US vice presidential debate on Wednesday had glass barriers to ward off the virus, but they couldn't stop the night's most talked-about intruder -- a giant stray housefly that perched on Vice President Mike Pence's cropped white hair for over two minutes -- from generating buzz online.While US President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus was the elephant in the room during the debate between Pence and his Democratic rival Senator Kamala Harris, it was Pence's six-legged companion and the pink hue in his left eye that lit up Twitter.
Pence never reacted to the fly taking up residence on his perfectly coiffed white hair and spent most of the 90-minute live debate answering questions posed by moderator Susan Page of USA Today, but the fly brought up a slew of questions of its own.
On social media, the fly, which sat atop Pence's head for 2 minutes and 3 seconds, became the biggest star. On Twitter, an account named @MikePenceFly swiftly gained thousands of followers.
Harris' running mate, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, posted a picture of himself with a fly swatter on Twitter, asking supporters to "Pitch in $5 to help this campaign fly."Some Democrats took the opportunity to bring up President Trump's COVID-19 infection.
"The fly needs to be quarantined," Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar wrote.
Republican Senator Rand Paul, a Trump ally, joked: "The deep state planted a bug on @VP. This illegal spying is really out of control." Setting aside the issue of the vice-president having a fly on his head, people also pointed to the condition of his left eye.
Numerous viewers spotted that Pence's left eye had a distinctly pinkish-red tone, prompting widespread discussion. "Is he Ok," Indian-American actor-model Padma Lakshmi wrote in a tweet accompanying a video of Pence where his eye is noticeably bloodshot.
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, can be a symptom of coronavirus. Pence tested negative for COVID-19 ahead of the debate. The vice president didn't appear to notice the fly's arrival. Despite his oratory and body language, the hot stage lights and those virus-fighting barriers, the fly was unperturbed. It finally flew away on its own. By the end of the night, the fly had its own Twitter account with 75,000 followers.