Here's what scientists are finding out about Coronavirus

FILE PHOTO Photographer Ayanda ndamane/African News Agency/ANA

FILE PHOTO Photographer Ayanda ndamane/African News Agency/ANA

Published May 7, 2020


DURBAN - The question of why the coronavirus has devastatingly affected some places and left others relatively untouched is a mystery that has created numerous theories and speculations with none providing definitive answers.

From the earliest days of the pandemic, it was reported that age was the dominant factor with young people avoiding the worst outcomes. Later on it was speculated that demographics, pre-existing conditions and genetics might be the deciding factor on who falls severely ill with COVID-19.

When nations with hot climates and young populations seemed to have escaped the worst of the pandemic, it gave rise to another theory that a country’s temperature could be a determining factor. But following the growing numbers of Covid-19 cases in tropical countries like Brazil and Peru, that theory proved not to be true.

New research has revealed a suite of features impacting disease severity. These influences could explain why some perfectly healthy 20-year-old with the disease is in dire straits, while an older 70-year-old dodges the need for critical interventions.

These risk factors include:


Diabetes (type 1 and type 2)

Heart disease and hypertension


Blood type


Genetic factors

According to researcher in molecular biology and human blood development, Jesse Smith Covid-19 is a disease unlike any disease we have seen before.

“While researchers and health care workers try to solve this problem in real time, the point remains that no one is spared from this scourge. All people are vulnerable, all are susceptible. But, despite that gloomy perspective, hope can be found in following simple practices — stay home, wash your hands,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking at a media briefing, held on Wednesday (6 May) to update the public on the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said major gaps in public health investment are undermining health and welfare around the globe.

“Strong and resilient health systems are the best defence not only against outbreaks and pandemics, but also against the multiple health threats that people around the world face every day."

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