Viruses that can be transmitted from human to animal — and potentially back again — are some of the most dangerous on record. The Spanish flu of 1918 was a worldwide pandemic that infected half a billion people and killed tens of millions. This was a “swine flu” that was transmitted from pigs to humans. You may have also heard of the “bird flu.” When viruses go back and forth between human and animal hosts, they have time to mutate.
Those mutations can make them much more dangerous.
And now we know that Fido can come down with coronavirus too! One Hong Kong patient discovered that their pet dog had come down with the virus. The pet dog was quarantined for two weeks, which is on par with the traditional human standard of care. Even so, officials warned against panic, saying that the tests had resulted in a “weak positive.” That means they cannot be certain that the virus can be transmitted from human to pet.
In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that we don’t know whether or not pets can spread coronavirus because no evidence exists. The dog also didn’t show any symptoms. More tests will be conducted to see if the dog is actually infected or if he was just the victim of unfortunate environmental contamination.
There have been around 90,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, most of which are in China’s Hubei Province. Officials have warned that the window for controlling the spread of the virus is rapidly closing — if not already shut. Around 3,000 people have succumbed to the virus so far. Many more deaths are expected as the virus makes its way to other countries around the world.
Trump has been thoroughly criticized for appointing Vice President Pence to lead the team organizing the United States response to the virus. Pence was responsible for causing an outbreak of HIV back home. Plus, Trump dismantled the team already put into place by the Obama administration.
There are worries that the actual number of cases of coronavirus might be much, much higher since most people won’t experience terrible symptoms. If the only people who seek treatment are those experiencing extreme symptoms, then we’ve already lost the ability to combat the spread of the disease.
More importantly, we also know that people can be reinfected with coronavirus — and that the virus might hit harder the second time around because of certain treatments that reduce a person’s immune response and put strain on the heart muscles. Governments around the world are beginning to restrict travel and close down operations in public places.