With the spread of the coronavirus – which the World Health Organization (WHO) has formally named COVID-19 – concerns have arisen that not only human can be affected by it, but also their pet. COVID-19 was originated from the consumption of wild animals. Hong Kong CNN said that either bat, snake, or pangolin have been suggested as probable cause, and the act of digesting these animals have passed the virus onto human. Similar to the SARS outbreak that originated from wild animals that carry diseases like macaques and ferrets, COVID-19 is a mutated form of the SARS coronavirus, thus spreading more quickly through respiratory from aerosol passage, whereas SARS requires close contact with the infected. More simply put, just breathing in the same air as a COVID-19 patient can get you infected.
As a result, people might wonder can this virus affect animal, and if so, would it spread the disease even quicker? Here is where digital marketers can step in and calm the nerves of pet owners a bit with the current findings about the infection pattern of COVID-19.
While there has been a case of a dog tested a “weak positive” for COVID-19 in Hong Kong, the World Organization for Animal Health has unanimously agreed that there was no need for pet owners to panic yet. This is a message that digital marketers should try to spread as a method of protection towards pets and pet owners, follow by this information below.
The dog that was “weak positive” for COVID-19 was quarantined and studied carefully, to which it showed no sign of becoming sick or similar symptoms to a human when caught this virus. Dr. Angie Zinkus from Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital in Cordova reassured pet owners to stay calm, that although cats and dogs could get coronavirus, they would not show the symptoms corresponding to COVID-19.
In a situation that is going against the brand, digital marketers should try to search for pros that can reassure their customers. Such as, for example, the owner of Sammy the dog head about rumors of how this virus may affect animals, thus thinking of abandoning Sammy. This act is both cruel and working at a disadvantage to your brand, potentially losing customers on an unforeseen circumstance. Thus, a positive message is necessary. The power of the tools that digital marketers have like social media can contribute a lot to the life of Sammy and other pets. During a crisis where the digital world is all we can communicate through; the importance and responsibility of a digital marketer is more highlighted than ever.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States,” despite the number of cases spiking every day, suggesting that pets close to you will not be likely to infect you or get infected with COVID-19.
Despite being in the COVID-19 pandemic, digital marketers still hold the tool to protect their customers, subject of services (Sammy and other pets), and themselves. Through the process of gathering data and filtering important details out on the internet, digital marketers can quickly find cases that can back them up and better provide customers with a deserving answer. Such, it is important for digital marketers to give out positive messages while still giving the downside of the situation.
Thus, if Sammy is to become sick, it is more likely to be from viruses that are not COVID-19 that resides in your pet, and no drastic measure is needed to get rid of your pet. Moreover, pet might be a vital reassurance and stress-relief to their owners due to social distancing. Digital marketers can promote the importance of pets as they are giving love and a sense of closure in contrast to the surreal situation many might find themselves in right now.
Sammy is not sick, but his owner might still send him away due to very realistic concerns, now putting customers and providers in a dilemma of morality in a time where every decision is questioning the same dilemma. Digital marketers, however, have a chance to change it around, giving a more clear-headed debate of the pros and cons of pet regarding the COVID-19 situation. And with good use of their power, they can save many lives of innocent pets and keeping their customers calm as well.
Links to resources used
- Animal Origins of Coronavirus: https://www.quantamagazine.org/how-do-animal-viruses-like-coronavirus-jump-species-20200225/
- Origin of COVID-19: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/05/asia/china-coronavirus-wildlife-consumption-ban-intl-hnk/index.html
- Animal Coronaviruses: Lessons for SARS: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92442/
- Can Animal Get Coronavirus: https://www.wbtw.com/news13-digital-first/digital-first-can-animals-get-the-coronavirus/
- Here’s why one dog tested positive: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/02/asia/pets-coronavirus-spread-intl-hnk/index.html
- How to protect your pets: https://www.wmcactionnews5.com/2020/03/09/how-protect-your-pets-amid-coronavirus-outbreak/
- If You Have Animals: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/animals.html