The coronavirus has infected more than 1.3 million people across the planet and killed some 72,000.
Adding to the grim statistics, on Sunday, the Bronx Zoo announced that one of its tigers had tested positive, amid a swirl of concern that other cats were exhibiting similar symptoms of illness and distress.
Some researchers have been endeavoring to understand the vulnerability of different animal species to the contagion, officially termed COVID-19, and thus to determine how it disseminates among animals and whether it is indicative of new and equally as lethal deviations.
“Cats, including big cats, are known to be susceptible to coronaviruses, and it turns out COVID-19 is no exception. The mode of transmission appears to be one way—human to cat—and there is no evidence yet of transmission the other way,” Dr. Summer McGee, dean of School of Health Sciences at the University of New Haven, told Fox News. “Even so, the CDC is recommending COVID-19-positive patients isolate from house cats as we do not yet know the health consequences for our pets, nor do we know absolutely that they aren’t asymptomatic carriers.”
Animal-to-human transmission of coronavirus has not been ruled out, but there is no evidence that it has already taken place – yet. According to McGee, the novel infection in multiple species of cats suggests that many more mammals, besides humans, could be impacted by this global pandemic.