Well, here is an unexpected turn:
“Scientists have evidence that SARS-CoV-2 spreads explosively in white-tailed deer, and the virus is widespread in this deer population across the United States.
Researchers say the findings are quite concerning and could have vast implications for the long-term course of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now veterinarians at Pennsylvania State University have found active SARS-CoV-2 infections in at least 30% of deer tested across Iowa during 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 in the world — says veterinary virologist Suresh Kuchipudi at Penn State, who co-led the study.
“If the virus has opportunities to find an alternate host besides humans, which we would call a reservoir, that will create a safe haven where the virus can continue to circulate even if the entire human population becomes immune,” he says. “And so it becomes more and more complicated to manage or even eradicate the virus.”
That seems to be fairly self-explanatory doesn’t it? If humans do manage at some point to get the virus under control, the virus can continue to exist AND POSSIBLY MUTATE in another host species, in this case deer. At some point the virus could cross back to humans in some form, either the same or mutated.
We have no idea when deer became infected. Speculation is that it crossed species from humans to deer. Since there are little to no symptoms of Covid in deer, it will not be easy to identify infected individuals. You may recall a huge culling of mink in the Netherlands in 2020 when such a species transfer was thought to have happened and 17 million mink were killed.
With the Covid virus now having at least one other species where they can live and possibly mutate, eradication of the disease may now be impossible.
For those leaders and followers who have made fighting mitigation efforts part of the political divide all we can say is your efforts to fight against what should have been common sense pandemic procedures, you may have made this situation possible.
Certainly we can’t say for sure and probably never will be able to. But by giving the virus another day to live and another chance to adapt you certainly did no one any favors.
There have also been cases found among zoo animals and some reports of dogs having covid. This virus has shown itself to be extremely adaptable and mutable. Now instead of a pandemic we may have an endemic disease that may possible alter life-styles in our world.
Want things to return to normal? We may have missed our chance. But now is a good day to mask up and get vaxxed.
One very tiny silver lining might be better deer management and fewer deer. There are so many white-tailed deer east of the Missouri River, and especially east of the Mississippi, that they are considered an “ongoing ecological catastrophe” by many biologists.
In Iowa and many other states, deer management is more of an endless political battle than science-based policy-making. If Iowa deer management were based on how many deer the landscape can sustain without being degraded, and if more effective methods were used in urban settings, including the professional sharpshooters being hired by some Eastern municipalities, there could be fewer deer, healthier landscapes, and less close contact between deer and humans.