Should my cat wear a mask? Is the vaccine vegan? Here some of your most interesting COVID-19 questions we answered



The ABC first did a call out for your coronavirus questions more than a year ago and since then, you have asked us everything under the sun — even hurled some curly ones our way.

And we kept a record of our favourites (out of 172,000) which was handy to mark our one-year anniversary of the questions project.

Here are some of the more surprising ones we received:

1. Should my cat wear a mask?

Coronavirus was a confusing time for us all so instinctively, many of you were concerned about protecting yourself and your loved ones — even those of a different species.

When news of a household pet and a tiger testing positive surfaced, questions about protecting your furry friends came up.

“Should my cat wear a face mask when it goes outside?”


While chances of infection are slim, it is good practice to stay away from Mr. Whiskers if you are feeling unwell.

But hey, if apes are now getting the vaccine, this might be one not to fuss about anytime soon!

2. Could the virus have come from humans first?

Human-to-animal transmission was said to be unlikely in the early days of the pandemic.

But alarm bells on animal-to-human transmission did ring when minks tested positive to coronavirus in Denmark.

“Could this virus’s origins be from human transmitted to animal and then back to human?”

Cool theory, but while the hunt for patient zero is ongoing, most scientists have agreed that SARS-CoV-2 originated from bats.

Word on the street is that a second animal is highly likely to be part of that equation.

3. Can you catch COVID if you stop to smell the roses?

Illustration of person looking at flowers by the sidewalk
Admiring flowers from afar on your evening strolls might just be the COVID-safe way.(ABC News: Widia Jalal)

We’ve explored the likelihood of aerosol transmission on public transport, in plumbing systems and hotel quarantine and on flights.

But there were also concerns about catching COVID-19 while walking around your neighbourhood.

“Could I catch Covid-19 from smelling roses on my walk? I’m not touching but breathing in deeply roses that others may have been doing the same?”

A Japanese study also looked at the spread in offices, which reiterates the importance of wearing a mask for protection against COVID.

The ABC has yet to publish anything about infection by sweet-smelling flora on your evening walks.

But we do know that the virus is airborne, so for what it’s worth, you might want to think twice before stuffing your nose in those beautiful things.

4. Can farts transmit the virus?

“If the virus can turn up in faeces, does that mean that farts could be a transmission route?”

Our favourite coronavirus podcast picked this one up and declared bare-bottom farting a complete no-no in this episode.

This answer comes as no surprise given that faecal matter is an important tell-tale sign.

We even went behind-the-scenes to learn how sewage testing works.

I mean, why else would China introduce anal swabs?

5. Are the vaccines vegan? Kosher?

Your questions got more sophisticated once we knew more about the virus and the vaccines in development.

Most of your questions are now centred on vaccines that are being rolled out in Australia.

“Are any of the vaccines vegan — that is, not made from animal components?”

“Are the COVID-19 vaccines that are being used in Australia kosher (able to be taken by practicing Jews)?”

The approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products so they’re suitable for people and communities with certain ethical views.

A blue glove holds two covid vaccine bottles.
There were concerns about animals being used in vaccine development.(Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)

In fact, religious leaders from various faiths such as Islam, Judaism, and Christianity encourage followers of their faith to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

But many of you had ethical concerns because animals were used to develop and test these vaccines.

However, this piece from ethicist Ben Bramble gives an in-depth explanation as to why vegans can get the COVID-19 vaccine in good conscience.

6. Could children be carrying the cure?

We’ve rephrased the above question because the actual one was a little darker.

“Can children’s blood heal corona?”

Research has shown that children are less likely than adults to spread COVID-19.

Studies have also shown that children have less chance of getting infected and are protected from severe COVID-19 infections.

7. Vitamins or vaccines?

Illustration of Vitamin C, Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine.
Vitamins are not considered alternatives to the COVID-19 vaccine.(ABC News: Widia Jalal)

You had concerns as to whether we’re too dependent on vaccines to help us deal with the virus and if experts are looking at alternative solutions.

“Why not examine the growing evidence that Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine and intravenous Vitamin C are useful and effective treatments for Covid-19 infection?”

There are reasons why experts aren’t too keen to greenlight existing medical treatments, including:

Research is still being done nonetheless to see if other drugs could be used as COVID-19 treatments.

When it comes to vitamin supplements, new research has shown that Vitamin D won’t stop you from getting respiratory diseases.

There is also no scientific evidence that supports the use of vitamin C to prevent COVID-19 and getting a vaccine is the only thing that will boost your immune system.

8. A glass of scotch a day to keep the virus away?


Some of you are not going to like our answer to the question below.

“Will a good scotch (as opposed to cheap rubbish) prevent an infection from becoming a disease?”

Unfortunately, according to our beloved Dr Norman Swan, a glass of scotch (whether it’s good or ‘rubbish’) will only give a placebo effect when it comes to killing any viruses.

9. How does a virus survive in sewage?

The pandemic has certainly changed our handwashing habits in the past year — and a bottle of hand sanitiser is something that we can no longer leave the house without!

But as one reader asked:

“If washing hands with soap kills the virus, how does the virus survive in sewage?”

While handwashing is an effective form of infection control, regular soap doesn’t kill the virus and only removes the virus from our hands.

A man looking at samples
Sewage testing is critical in shaping a Australia’s response to COVID-19.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Viral remnants in sewage could also come from our bowels since research has shown that people can shed the virus in their stools for up to eight weeks!

Finally, there were questions that we just couldn’t answer.

They did keep us entertained though so we’re adding this one anyway.

“I am currently working from home. My neighbour is doing bad Mariah Carey karaoke. She is not good. Can I claim workers compensation for bleeding eardrums.”

Although you can’t claim workers compensation, we would recommend asking your neighbour (nicely) to turn down the volume.

Alternatively, you could always join them (while practicing social distancing of course).

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