Letter To The Editor: Possible Factor Overlooked In Solving Deer-COVID Mystery

By ZHEN HUANG
Los Alamos

I felt really sorry for the deer that died from being stuck in the window well (link). It brought about refreshed memories of the deer collision accident I experienced. One thing I recalled was the awful smell that almost made me vomit although I was like at least 50 meters away from the injured deer…

We human beings breathe, so do wildlife. An injured wild animal would struggle to breathe much more in order to survive. If the animal carried some virus, the virus concentration in the atmosphere would be significantly increased.

As now we know a large percentage of the deer population in the US were infected by COVID-19 virus. Another concern is, in deer hunting season, could the air be polluted by the virus if the harvested deer were in some newly infected stages before they have developed COVID-19 antibodies? As we know that COVID-19 virus can be transmitted via aerosols for long distances.

I also noticed the “food treats” near the window of this deer incident. Looks like the poor deer lost his life in seeking food. The implications for us are very clear. To protect wildlife and ourselves, do not leave food treats outside.

A related concern: in those old LANL buildings, we have got those mouse trapping placed inside in every corner. Whenever a night shift mouse was trapped, we were told to report to the animal control team, they would come right away to treat the incident including disinfecting the spot. However, what we have overlooked is, the dead mouse struggled and discharged some unwanted aerosols, possibly viruses, into the office air of the enclosed space overnight that would still linger around. As we all know the relationship between mouse and bat, the implications are clear as we continue to fight the pandemic.

Hope that LANL Management will take it seriously. 

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