COVID-19 Virus is Spreading to Animals

Juan Melendez, Staff Writer

On January 6 2021, two gorillas in the San Diego Zoo began to show symptoms of the virus as well and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Currently, the troop is under quarantine and are also expected to make a full recovery. All of these animals contracted the virus from employees at The San Diego Zoo and the Bronx Zoo in New York, worrying everyone on whether or not their pets and other animals are at risk of becoming infected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), “Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.” However, it is still advised to isolate your pets and limit contact with them in order to decrease the risk of the virus spreading to them. 

Cailah Edwards, a tenth grader stated, “There is always a chance it could happen, but since my family is very cautious I don’t think my dog could get it. I don’t know if other pets like reptiles and birds could get it, I think It has to do more with mammals. The zoos should also take more precautions like keeping their distance when feeding the animals.”

While the risk for COVID-19 to spread from animals to us is low, people should still keep their guards up in case our pets have it. As well, this should apply to the zoos since their animals are just as much at risk in being infected.

The CDC has stated that, “A small number of pet cats and dogs have been reported to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 in several countries, including the United States. One ferret was reported positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Slovenia. Most of these pets became sick after contact with people with COVID-19. Several animals in zoological facilities have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, including large cats and great apes.” 

 Jayla Watts, a tenth grader, said “I think it’s possible [for the virus to spread to other animals] especially if the owner and their pet come in contact a lot, if the virus is in the air one thing we can do is not take them out as much or shorter walks. I think birds could get it but I don’t know about reptiles unless there is something in their body that doesn’t allow them to get it. I would definitely tell other people that I know have pets to make sure that they don’t take their pets out far nor to visit friends’ houses.”

If you are not following COVID-19 guidelines you could put your pet at risk of contracting the virus. So far, no animals have died but it is important to stay cautious. The virus  doesn’t seem to be doing this on purpose but as a mean to survive to spread to a new host as stated from the same CDC article, “At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to people.”

For the safety of yourself and for your pets, make sure to follow guidelines outlined by the CDC in order to be as protected as possible during this pandemic. As COVID cases grow, it is important that people follow the safety protocols which can be found on the CDC website.