(UnitedHeadlines.com) – As the number of coronavirus cases decline in the United States, a new problem is emerging that could impact how the world deals with COVID-19. New studies indicate wildlife can transmit the virus.
Evidence shows wild animals, specifically American white-tailed deer, are spreading the virus to one another. Scientists speculate the animals can contract the virus in a number of ways, from eating discarded food and drinking wastewater to simply traveling through areas where an infected person has used the bathroom or spit.
Scientists confirmed that deer in Iowa carry the coronavirus, and that they likely got it from people. The findings have troubling implications for the future of the pandemic. https://t.co/RggpcLAPp6
— NYT Science (@NYTScience) November 3, 2021
While it’s nothing new that wild animals can become infected with COVID-19, researchers have found it shocking how quickly the virus has spread through deer populations. In Iowa, one-third of the deer tested over the span of nine months had the virus. Between November 2020 and January 2021, those numbers peaked with four out of five deer testing positive.
The real concern is whether animals can spread the virus across species, including back to humans. The more a virus spreads, the higher the likelihood of more mutations developing, which could lead to stronger variants capable of infecting people. Considering how quickly COVID-19 worked its way through deer in Iowa, it’s possible the virus has already spread to other wildlife.
With deer being one of the popular targets for hunters in North America, it raises the question of whether humans might further infect deer populations. How will the impacts affect long-term goals of fighting COVID-19? As it stands, it’s likely that the world will never be able to eliminate the virus completely. After all, the government can’t mandate wild animals to vaccinate or wear masks.
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