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How Mink, Like Humans, Were Slammed by the Coronavirus

Denmark’s mink industry is gone, a victim of the #coronavirus. The nation killed all its 17 million mink because of fears of a mutation in the virus that had spread from mink to people.

Separately, in Utah, farmed mink infected with the virus seem to have passed it on somehow to at least one wild mink, raising concern about whether the virus will find a home in wild animals. And around the world, farmed mink continue to fall victim to the coronavirus.

The United States, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Greece and Lithuania have all reported mink infections to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Not only are mink the only nonhuman animal known to become severely ill and die from the virus, they are the only animal known to have caught the virus from humans and then passed it back. What terrified Danish officials was that the virus that jumped back to people carried mutations that seemed as if they might affect how well vaccines work, although that worry has faded.

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