‘Honey, the cat has coronavirus.’ What to do.

The latest CDC insights on transmission of COVID-19 between humans and their pets.

When it comes to coronavirus, one of the many subjects under the category of “unknown” is how the virus moves between animals and people. 

On April 22, the government announced two cases of COVID-19 in pet cats in different households, both in New York state.

Besides the pet cats, at least eight zoo animals have gotten COVID-19. Three lions and five tigers at New York”™s Bronx Zoo have tested positive for coronavirus. There”™s no way to know how they got it, especially since most people who get coronavirus have few or no symptoms. But one theory is that the animals caught it from an infected zookeeper. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House coronavirus task force said this week, “There’s no evidence that the virus is transmitted from the pet to a human.” In other words, when it comes to pets, Fauci says it”™s possible the virus only works one way: people can give it to pets and zoo animals, but pets cannot transmit it to humans.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) adds: “There is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare.”

That said, absence of evidence is not proof of anything. “Is it impossible biologically [for pet to transmit coronavirus to humans]? No. Anything is possible,” Fauci said.

To sort through some of the confusion, here is the latest information, according to government and scientific authorities.

1. COVID-19 started in bats and moved to people. 

According to CDC: COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is one in a large family of coronaviruses common in people and many species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. COVID-19, MERS-CoV, and  SARS-CoV all came from bats.

2.   Pets outside the U.S. have gotten coronavirus.

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