When I first saw this headline, I thought it had to be joke. But it is not. Turns out, tests are being conducted throughout the US on free-roaming whitetail deer to determine the extent to which they are infected with the SARS CoV2 virus, and believe it or not, herds of whitetails appear to be infected in multiple states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois and Ohio.
Just to satisfy myself that this was not just a click-bait headline, I looked at tests conducted at various veterinarian institutions to get a better idea as to whether these results are credible.
I found a published report regarding a study conducted by the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine to determine if free-roaming whitetails are getting infected.
This report, which has been peer-reviewed, can be found in the December 23, 2021, edition of Nature, a science-based periodical.
Folks, as weird as it sounds, these test results appear to be valid. Not only is this surprising, it is also concerning for a number of reasons, which we will discuss in a minute.
First, let’s talk about how the tests were conducted at OSU, what the findings were and ultimately, why all this matters.
The OSU study was conducted between January and March, 2021. The dates are significant because this was done before the emergence of the Delta and Omicron variants of the virus.
In other words, the degree of infection might be worse now than then.
First of all, all of the deer being tested had no obvious symptoms of the virus; rather, these deer were selected at random from various locations in northeastern Ohio, which included both rural and urban settings.