Advertise
Free Compliments of our Advertisers
Sonoma County Gazette
Deadlines
Subscribe
Menu
Another False Meme: People can contract COVID-19 from pets.
Another False Meme: People can contract COVID-19 from pets. Image - original graphic public domain from WHO.org

Stupid Memes

 

Apr 21, 2020
by Dr. Michael Trapani

Share:

As I write, the United States death count from COVID-19 stands at just over 52,000 people. I am relieved that my initial calculated estimates have not come true. Recent daily death counts have dropped below 2,000 (at last). We should still be very, very afraid, but can now be much more hopeful.

Credit for this in Sonoma County goes entirely to our community. Residents here have stayed home, isolating themselves and protecting the entire population from the COVID plague. Collectively, we have prevented this hideous disease from turning our neighborhoods into death camps.

But 52,000 deaths is still a huge number. We are far from out of the woods. Our successful social distancing and self-isolation strategy clearly works, but we human beings are gregarious creatures who thrive through interaction with others. It is perfectly understandable that some of us are pushing for early release from self-quarantine: Understandable, but not wise. 

Social media helps fill a part of our collective need to interact with others, but the trouble with the Internet is that any idiot can post ANYthing! A well written and adorned meme can be very attractive and amusing, whether it’s based on truth or not. This is particularly the case when it’s something that we WANT to believe. We eagerly accept as factual a meme that reinforces our beliefs. Worse are the memes that seem to make sense and are accepted without question. These spread and multiply faster than COVID…examples:

COVID-19 was created in a bioweapons lab. 

NO. The genome of COVID-19 has been sequenced and it very closely resembles a naturally occurring bat virus. It DOES NOT show telltale signs of laboratory manipulation and it CERTAINLY DOES NOT contain HIV insertions in its RNA. At present, there is no evidence that it escaped from a virus research lab. Weirdly (or perhaps not), I recall hearing a similar rumor back in 1978 when Canine Parvo Virus first emerged. People were suggesting that it was a Russian biowarfare experiment. Some things never change.

People can contract COVID-19 from pets. 

NO. There is no evidence to support this. If anything, the opposite is true. Cats, especially kittens, are sensitive to COVID and could become infected by humans who are actively shedding the virus. Yes, a few dogs have tested positive for COVID-19, but only after exposure to infected humans. These dogs did not become ill and there is no evidence to show that either dogs or cats can spread the virus to people. In general, pet owners should maintain effective hygiene: wash your hands before and after handling pets or their food, bowls, leashes, etc.Kissing your pets is best avoided. People who may be infected with COVID-19 should avoid handling animals, for their safety and yours.

Animals are objects. Any object handled by someone shedding coronavirus may have virus deposited on its surface to be picked up by someone else. Wash your hands thoroughly and often!

Hand sanitizer is poisonous and can kill your pets.

NO. A claim that hand sanitizers “have the same ingredient as antifreeze” and could kill your pet if they lick your sanitized hand has circulated in recent weeks. I have to ask: Just how much hand sanitizer are people using? First of all, hand sanitizers DO NOT contain ethylene glycol, the highly toxic ingredient in some antifreeze formulations. Ethylene glycol is poisonous, but it ain’t plutonium and there’s none in there anyway.

Now more than ever, we must all be responsible consumers of information. This is especially true when believing the wrong meme can cost someone their life. Memes, like; it’s no worse than the flu, or only older people are at risk, all sound believable and are not supported by evidence.

My prescription for “False Meme Disease:” 

Take two  snopes.com  and call me in the morning.

Dr. Michael Trapani

Comments:


Login to Make a Comment

Please support our sponsors:

Listen to KRCB FM on Our FREE Mobile App

Tune into KRCB any time - CLICK HERE to download the Live Streaming app

“One Less Spark” Campaign Toolkit

Approximately 95% of all wildfires in California are caused by human activity. CLICK HERE to learn more

REFB donations
Fine Tree Care - Sonoma County Tree Services

Visit Fine Tree Care WEBSITE for a List of our SERVICES - Testimonials and to request a FREE Estimate

LOCAL GUIDE to Cannabis Dispensaries and Delivery Services, Sonoma County & Beyond.

LOCAL GUIDE to Cannabis Dispensaries and Delivery Services, Sonoma County & Beyond.All dispensaries have verified their information.

Flip through the pages of the print edition of the 2020 Sonoma County Gardeners Resource Guide

Your 2020 GUIDE to support locally-owned garden businesses and natural landscaping practices.

Sonoma County Bicycle Shops and Groups

Sonoma County Bike Shops and Groups. Find LOCALLY-OWNED Bicycle Shops for NEW, Used and Rental Bicycles as well as REPAIR. Look for a bike-riding group that suits your needs and style.