5 Dallas Zoo Gorillas Test Positive, The Feb. Freeze Led To Decline In Cases, Collin College Prof. Fired For Promoting Safety Precautions & More.

This past week, Dallas county saw a 7-day average of 989 new cases and 16 deaths, bringing up the total of confirmed cases to 460,392 and deaths to 5,856.

We wonder — how many of those confirmed cases are non-human? Because ICYMI, five gorillas at the Dallas Zoo tested positive for COVID-19, the first case for any animal at the zoo since the beginning of the pandemic.

Doctors weren’t kidding when they said anyone can be infected with the virus.

According to Fox 4, zoo workers still aren’t sure how the group got infected, as workers are tested regularly and wear safety gear at all times and the habitat is far enough away from guests. Their biggest guess is that it somehow came from an asymptomatic worker.

Unlike humans, the gorillas will not have to self-isolate, as they are social animals. And yes anti-masker in the distance, humans are social, but this is a different circumstance. In addition to great apes, big cats are also at the highest risk of contracting COVID, so the zoo is keeping a close eye on its two tiger cubs.

The five gorillas aren’t experiencing any symptoms, so we’re hoping they still feel good.

Here are the other briefs of the week.

  • The winter storm may have helped the decline of cases. Dallas saw a dramatic decline in cases compared to the previous weeks, and experts find it probable that the ice forcing everyone to stay inside for those couple of days contributed. In the first week of the month, there was 47% decline in general population cases, a 55% decline in youth cases, 64% decline in hospitalization and a 34% decline in ICU admissions.
  • A Collin College professor was dismissed and he believes it was due to questioning the school’s lack of COVID safety. Michael Phillips is the fourth professor from the college to be dismissed this semester. According to KERA, Phillips urged students to wear masks and keep a safe distance in his class, and was later met with a discipline warning. A few days later, he was informed his contract would not be renewed. Audra Heaslip, Lora Burnett and Suzanne Jones were also let go. Excluding Burnett — who was fired after Tweeting criticism of Mike Pence — Heaslip, Jones and Philips publicly criticized Collin’s handling, or lack thereof, of COVID precautions.
  • A Denton County man plead guilty for threats he made against the life of a Maryland doctor. Back in October, Scott Harris sent a text message to a doctor filled with violent, racist and misogynistic language after she advocated for the vaccine in her role as a CNN medical analyst. The FBI arrested him at his home. Harris faces up to five years in prison and the sentencing date has been set for April in a Maryland federal court.
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