Deer, also known as “Cervids” seem to be carriers of the Covid virus. Several studies report that up to 80% of deer are carriers of this virus. Considering that the US has an estimated population of 30 million deer, that’s a lot of Covid Carriers.
These carriers do not seem to be impacted by the disease but test positive for it. Research shows that the Covid SARS-CoV-2 virus showed up in deer in Ohio at the same time our human population was impacted. Similar studies in New York, Michigan, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, found that Covid can be identified on a large percentage of wild, free ranging deer.
The virus is spread through aerosols, droplets, and breathe. This means nose to nose contact. One thing that these states have in common is the hunting practice of baiting. When extra winter food is places afield the deer group up and feast on the corn, sugar beets, pumpkins, and food lots that are prepared by hunters or people that feed deer in their yards. Drinking from infected water sources will also spread the virus. Bovine tuberculosis and CWD can also be spread under similar conditions.
Other studies have shown that Covid can spread from humans to cats, dogs, zoo animals, and farmed mink. These studies were performed in Europe.
Deer show no symptoms of Covid. It is not known if this is long term or transient. Evidence of over 6 different viral strains have been found in deer. The virus could remain in deer and never mutate to impact humans. It could also mutate and infect humans but seems unlikely. Each additional mutation tends to be less powerful but more transmissible. Testing has also been inconsistent. Scientists are not sure if deer, or other critters could spread this virus.
Surprisingly, Bats have not been infected in the US. There is no evidence that a deer can spread Covid.