We know that for many people, exposure to COVID-19 does not always mean severe symptoms. The question is: why? We need to understand this because this will change the way we isolate, treat, and manage patients with COVID-19. We need to look at the “dose-response curve” for the initial infection. In other words, is the risk of COVID-19 infection greater as people are exposed to more of the virus at the beginning? Second, is there a relationship between that initial “dose” of virus and the severity of the disease? For example, does more exposure result in a worse outcome? And, third, how does the virus work in an infected patient? Things to consider include the changes in the amount of the virus in your body and the pattern of its rise and fall. Can this predict the severity of the illness and how infectious you are to others? So far, in the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been measuring the spread of the virus across people. As the pandemic grows, we also need to start measuring the virus within people.
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