At first many thought that animals couldn't get the coronavirus, but new information claims they can and it is happening in New York.

Most of us in the Hudson Valley go or know someone who goes out hunting every year during deer season, and with wildlife experts now saying that COVID-19 antibodies have been discovered in the whitetail deer population in a few states, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan and New York, some are not sure what that means.

The new study from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service did discover that after testing blood samples from random whitetail deer from January 2020 through March 2021 that out of the 481 blood samples collected 33% tested positive for the COVID-19 antibodies, according to the Olean Times Herald.

Researchers said that in New York, 19% of 68 samples showed that the deer had exposure to the virus, over in Pennsylvania it was worse, with 31% indicating exposure out of its 199 samples. They also said they weren't sure how the deer were exposed but did go on to say that it's more than possible that the deer were exposed through humans, the environment, other deer or another species entirely.

Should We Worry About Getting COVID From Deer?

Assistant director at the USDA National Wildlife Research Center Thomas DeLiberto said that the risk of transmission from animals to people is very low, "This is a human-adapted pathogen. In its current form, it likes to be in people and the greatest risk to people is transmission from other infected people."

Do We Have Anything to Worry About if We Eat Venison?

According to health and wildlife experts, any whitetail deer hunters that might be concerned with eating meat from infected deer shouldn't worry about it because, according to the USDA, there is no scientific evidence that shows people can get COVID-19 by eating or preparing meat from infected animals.

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