Why domestic cats getting coronavirus is irrelevant

At present, there is fairly clear evidence in a study setting that domestic cats can get Covid-19 and transmit it to other cats although the symptoms are very mild or the cat is asymptomatic. And because they can transmit cat-to-cat it does not mean that it is happening.

Cat wandering outside
Cat wandering outside. Photo: public domain.
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However, in the UK two factors tell me that the information about cats gets getting the disease is irrelevant. Firstly nearly all domestic cats in Britain are indoor/outdoor cats. Theoretically this maximises the chances of domestic cats passing Covid-19 to other cats and potentially to people. If cats have an impact on spreading the disease, the UK is the developed country where it would happen.

Secondly, the number of infections in the UK of Covid-19 is falling as predicted in response to the confinement of people and is the lowest it has been since the lockdown on 23rd March at 190. The graph is very positively downwards.

All the signs are therefore that cats contracting Covid-19 has had no effect on the spreading of the disease. If cats were playing an important role in spreading Covid-19 we would not be seeing this sharp decrease in infection among people while there had been no confinement whatsoever of cats. They have been free to roam as usual.

Further there is no evidence yet that cats can pass the disease to people and the statistics clearly indicate that they don’t or if they do the impact is insignificantly minor.

Risk

The UK government has overreacted and panicked. At the outset they were going down the Swedish route of keeping the economy running and ensuring some sensible precautions were taken. Professor Neil Ferguson’s ‘reasonable worse case’ of 510,000 deaths panicked the government. The figure was contrived from a 16-year-old computer modelling program fed information based on influenza data. This is a mistake as flu does not work like Covid-19. Few scientists now accept this huge figure. But the damage has been done.

The government has terrified people into believing that we are surrounded by an invisible killer that can take our lives at any time. They painted a picture that Covid-19 is very dangerous but the statistics do not bear that out.

Between 0.5% and 0.75% of infected persons die of it. Of these 87% are over 65 and at least 90% have multiple possible causes of death due to chronic illnesses. The death rate for under 50s is very small. The government said that ‘if you go out people will die’. Pure hype.

Now the lockdown is about politicians protecting their backs. They don’t want to be seen as the government that caused unnecessary deaths or large numbers of deaths. They are playing safe for their benefit and meanwhile the economy has been tanked by their decisions. They overreacted.

The effects of the lockdown will be felt for years. It may take 20 years for the economy to get back to where it was. That’ll cost lives, far more lives than Covid-19 has taken.

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