The COVID-19 pandemic began 7 months ago, and since then, we have learned a lot about the virus. Here is what we know: the closer you are to someone with the virus and the longer you are in contact with them, the more likely you are to become infected. Being indoors is worse than being outside, especially in rooms without good airflow. Wearing face masks reduces the amount of virus released when we cough, sneeze, laugh, sing or breathe, but masks are not total blockades. Not everyone becomes sick when exposed to the virus. This is probably because of exposure to a lower “dose” of the virus. Some infected people (only 10% to 20%) are causing most of the new cases. This happens through “super-spreading” in indoor settings like bars, meat processing plants, and homes. We know that people who have mild infections get rid of the active virus for up to 10 days after their symptoms start, but they still may have a positive test for much longer. Whether or not someone has symptoms or not, they can still spread the virus. We know that germs on surfaces are not the major transmission route for COVID-19.

There are still many things we do not know about COVID-19. We do not know if one infection with COVID-19 protects against other infection in the future. We do not know how much virus is needed to cause an infection (also known as “viral load”), or why some people get sick and others do not. Finally, we still do not know the actual number of infections worldwide.


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