Coronavirus pandemic: still unanswered questions
It seems that an eternity has passed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, but in fact the world only learned about the new virus in December last year. Despite the tremendous efforts of scientists around the world, much of the behavior of this virus remains incomprehensible, writes Air force.
These are questions that experts have no answers to.
How many people were infected?
This is one of the most basic, but at the same time very important issues.
Hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases of infection have been registered all over the world, but this is only part of the real cases.
In addition, there are many cases of asymptomatic infections when people are infected but do not have symptoms of the disease.
Only testing for antibodies will allow researchers to understand the true magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic.
How deadly is coronavirus?
Until we know the true scale of the pandemic and the number of infected, it is impossible to establish mortality from coronavirus.
So far, it is estimated that the death rate is about 1% of the number of infected. But if there is a large number of infected, without symptoms, it can be significantly lower.
What is the complete list of symptoms?
The main symptoms of coronavirus are fever and dry cough.
In some cases, sore throat, headaches and indigestion were reported, as well as loss of smell in some patients.
However, the most important issue is the nature of the mild flu-like symptoms, such as a runny nose.
Research indicates the possibility that people with these symptoms can be carriers of the infection without realizing it.
What is the role of children in the spread of infection?
Children are able to become infected with coronavirus. However, they usually have mild symptoms, and the number of deaths among children is negligible compared to other, older age groups.
Children usually become super-spreaders of any infection, partly because they make a large number of contacts, but in the case of coronavirus it is not clear to what extent they are such spreaders.
Where did the coronavirus come from?
The virus first appeared in the city of Wuhan in China at the end of 2019, apparently in the area of the local wildlife market.
This virus, designated SARS-CoV-2, is similar in structure to viruses that infect bats.
However, scientists believe that the current coronavirus was transmitted by bats to some unknown animal, and only then it spread to people.
This missing link in the coronavirus mutation chain remains a mystery and can be a source of further infections.
Will the pandemic last until the summer?
Colds and flu more often occur in the winter months, but it is not yet known whether the spread of coronavirus will cease in the summer.
British virologists believe, for example, that the dependence of the new coronavirus on air temperature is less than that of the flu and the common cold.
If during the summer the number of cases of infection with coronavirus decreases significantly, there is a danger that a new surge in incidence will occur in winter.
Why are some sick people symptoms especially pronounced?
Infection is mild in most cases. However, approximately 20% of patients develop serious complications. The reasons are still unknown.
Apparently, the state of the patient’s immune system, as well as some genetic factors, are relevant to this.
Understanding this can lead to a decrease in the number of patients who need to stay in intensive care.
How long does the immunity last and can it be infected again?
So far, there is little information about how stable the immunity to this coronavirus is, although there are many assumptions about this.
In the case of a successful cure, patients should acquire immunity to this virus, however, since the disease began to spread relatively recently, reliable data on this are extremely scarce.
Rumors of repeated infections may be due to incorrect data during testing.
The question of the duration and effectiveness of immunity is of great importance in the fight against a pandemic.
How will the virus mutate?
Viruses mutate constantly, but most of the changes in their genome are not dangerous.
The general rule is that a mutation of the virus leads to its weakening in the long term, but this condition is not optional.
The danger is that if a virus develops a certain mutation, the immune system will no longer recognize it, and vaccines specially developed against it will stop functioning.
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