Have you been sitting around your crumb-strewn home office, asking yourself: How can this pandemic get worse? The Detroit Free Press has one answer. Deer. With Covid.
Wild deer in six northeast Ohio locations were discovered infected with at least three virus variants of COVID-19, a team of Ohio State University researchers has reported.
The finding, from nasal swabs of 360 white-tailed deer, is among the first evidence showing active COVID infections in wild deer populations through exposure from the shedded virus from people, likely in their feces and urine.
So maybe you're thinking, what's so awful about that? Deer run away when we come close, and anyway, they live outdoors and you're not eating their feces or urine. Well, here's the problem:
If the coronavirus is found to sustain itself in wild deer populations, perhaps passing the virus to other animal species or even back to humans, it could prove a large complication to getting past the global pandemic that has contributed to nearly 5.5 million deaths since late 2019. But whether that is happening is not yet clear and requires more research, scientists said.
So what this implies is, Deer Covid might become another form of Human Covid? The same way Human Covid 1.0 seemingly came from animals at Chinese wet markets? Evidently. In fact, one of the researchers said the finding that deer are getting, replicating and shedding the virus "changes the game" of Covid and similar infectious diseases.
The deer in the study were "urban and suburban" animals, i.e., the kind that hangs around subdivisions, not necessarily the ones far from human activity, which makes sense.
Now for the good news: The risk of animals like deer spreading the disease back to people is considered low, a U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service spokeswoman said. Still, cook your venison to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, and have a nice day.