Coronavirus: Gorillas at San Diego Zoo test positive for COVID-19

Peninsula Premier Admin

A pair of gorillas at the world-famous San Diego Zoo have tested positive for COVID-19, and a third is symptomatic, in what scientists are investigating as a possible case of human-to-animal transmission, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday.

“That’s being determined, and one has to respect that process and the adjudication of the facts,” Newsom said during a Monday afternoon virtual news conference. “But nonetheless, (human-to-animal transmission) is an area that’s long been of concern.”

Newsom said there were currently tests under way to determine the source of infection and strain of the virus. He said the situation was developing in “real-time,” with more information potentially by the end of the day.

“Our beloved gorillas, obviously, we are concerned about,” Newsom said. “The San Diego Zoo, (they’re) the best of the best.”

In a report published by the Associated Press soon thereafter, the zoo’s director said all eight gorillas in its habitat are suspected to be infected and that several had been coughing. The park’s director, Lisa Peterson, also told the AP the source of the outbreak is believed to be an employee who interacted with the gorillas but was asymptomatic and wearing a mask the entire time.

Under California’s regional stay-at-home order, the zoo has been closed the public since Dec. 6.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it appears COVID-19 is transmissible from humans to animals “in some situations.” These are believed to be the first known cases among gorillas, one of our closest relatives, with whom humans share 98.4% of our DNA.

Contributed by local news sources

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