With more than 1,000 confirmed deaths and almost 60,000 cases, the devastating coronavirus COVID-19 is causing global supplies of face masks to run out, stock markets to plummet, and cruise ship trips to be cancelled.
Luckily, many Chinese residents haven't forgotten about their furry companions. In photos and videos posted to social media, cats in makeshift protective wear — including face masks with cut out holes for their eyes — can be seen wandering the streets, The New York Post reports.
Cats Need Face Mask Too In Wuhan...
— Agus Susanto II (@Cobeh09) February 10, 2020
Futurism wasn't able to verify the legitimacy of the images, or where they fall on the spectrum from meme fodder to actual protective measure.
A key question: can cats and other pets actually catch and transmit the deadly virus?
"At present, there is no evidence that companion animals such as dogs or cats can be infected with COVID-19," reads a FAQ by the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association.
"No, you won’t get or give the coronavirus to your family pet," reads a blog post by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. "[Coronaviruses] tend to be very species specific and cross-species transmission is uncommon."
COVID-19 could genetically change to jump species, as unlikely as that may be — it is currently believed, after all, to have spread from animals to humans before this outbreak.
And Chinese authorities claim there is reason to be cautious.
"If pets go out and have contact with an infected person, they have the chance to get infected," spokesman and epidemiologist Li Lanjuan from China's National Health Commission told The New York Post. "By then, pets need to be isolated. In addition to people, we should be careful with other mammals especially pets."
READ MORE: Cats in China are wearing face masks amid coronavirus crisis [New York Post]
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