White tailed deer are now taking center stage to keep the feardemic alive.
NPR recently published a report titled, “How SARS-CoV-2 in American Deer could Alter The Course Of The Global Pandemic.”
According to NPR scientists have found that COVID-19 has spread to the US white-tailed deer population.
Veterinarians at Pennsylvania State University say they have discovered active COVID-19 infections in at least 30% of the deer tested across Iowa in 2020.
Their study, published online last week, suggests that white-tailed deer could become what’s known as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2. That is, the animals could carry the virus indefinitely and spread it back to humans periodically.
If that’s the case, it would essentially dash any hopes of eliminating or eradicating the virus in the U.S. — and therefore from the world — says veterinary virologist Suresh Kuchipudi at Penn State, who co-led the study.
Virologist Linda Saif at Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine believes that humans are infecting the white-tailed deer population across the country.
“We also have detected the virus in deer in Ohio,” she says. “And there are antibody studies that suggest the prevalence of COVID infections among deer are pretty high in the Midwest and East.”
Researchers found that the animals don’t get sick regardless, Saif says the data is “very concerning.”
“Now the question is: Can the virus spill back from deer to humans? Or can deer transmit the virus effectively to grazing livestock? We don’t know the answers to those questions yet, but if they are true, they’re obviously concerning,” she says.