Thursday 24 September 2020

Cat and dog owners won't obey governments if they insist that their animals are quarantined because of Covid-19

It's emerging, gradually, that a considerable percentage of cats and dogs can get Covid-19 from their owners. They even have the same symptoms. A recent study suggested that 88% of cats contracted the disease from their owners or other people in the home as they had Covid -19 antibodies in their blood. And their owners said that they had symptoms similar to theirs such as breathing problems. Where does it leave us?

Montage: PoC. Pics in the public domain.

If further research reveals that our beloved cats and dogs present a danger to their owners because they are a pool or reservoir for the disease then it may come to pass that governments place restrictions over cat and dog ownership. I'm speculating wildly but it seems quite feasible that this may happen. It depends how the coronavirus pandemic develops. However, it is not going away. A second spike is developing and winter is arriving. Humankind is depending on a vaccine to see us through this and to get back to normal.

However, we know that vaccines take a long time to develop (many years normally). We also know that vaccines are less effective in people who are overweight and obese. In Britain around 60% of the population are overweight. Will a Covid-19 vaccine arrest the disease sufficiently for life to get back to normal? These are known unknowns but there's no doubt that we're going to have to live with this disease for the foreseeable future, perhaps indefinitely. That being said, I can see restrictions being placed upon pet ownership. Even today there are calls by some experts to treat companion animals who have showed signs of having the disease in the same way that we treat people who've had the disease. This means social distancing from our companion animals.

I foresee that this is going to be impossible to do and to enforce. It's also going to cause some consternation. And here's the deal: people are becoming tired of being dictated to by governments on how to curb the spread of this disease. A lot of people regard the current regulations as an attack on their freedoms and civil rights. They'd rather take the risk of getting the disease that have their rights constantly curtailed and restricted. Therefore governments will lose their authority. There may be civil unrest. We are seeing it already in fact with people responding angrily well asked to wear a face covering inside shops by staff members.

My personal view is that people should adopt the Swedish model which means going for herd immunity and taking the risk of getting the disease. People should make their own decisions. They are sensible enough in my view. Older people and those who are more vulnerable can self isolate and protect themselves while younger people can get on with life normally. Leave the decision-making to the citizens rather than dictate downward to them from a floundering government which is failing going forward, stumbling and making mistakes as they go. 

The citizens can apply common sense to their own individual situations provided the government gives them all the information that they need to make those decisions. They should give clear statements to the public about the risks so that people can judge for themselves. This will allow for a much more finely tuned and nuanced approach to tackling the virus.

The government say that they have followed the science but it seems to me that they have followed a very narrow form of science. We regularly see two senior science officials. One is an epidemiologist and the other is the chief medical officer for the country. What about the behavioural sciences? I think the UK government needs to take a wider picture. At the moment they're focusing on saving lives and keeping down the infection rates at the expense of the economy. I feel greater emphasis needs to be placed on the economy. After all, at the moment although the infection rates are showing a second spike, the death rates are probably lower than many other illnesses on a month by month basis. We are not locking down the country for reasons of cancer for instance.

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