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Five things that scientists still don’t know about Covid-19

Researchers and clinicians are working around the clock to understand the Coronavirus.

Researchers and clinicians are working around the clock to understand the Coronavirus.

Published Sep 20, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - The Coronavirus pandemic has been raging for almost a year and it has claimed nearly 1 million lives globally. But Scientists are still learning about the virus that has wrecked havoc worldwide.

Here are five things that scientists still don’t know about Covid-19:

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1.How much do asymptomatic people contribute to transmission?

According to the World Health Organization scientists have not determined yet how frequently people with asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 pass the disease on to others, a day after suggesting that such spread is “very rare.”

“The majority of transmission that we know about is that people who have symptoms transmit the virus to other people through infectious droplets. But there is a subset of people who don’t develop symptoms and to truly understand how many people don’t have symptoms, we don’t actually have that answer yet,” said WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove.

2.What control measures can countries sustain without significantly disrupting the lives of their citizens?

Different control measures have been tried around the world, and they all work to one degree or another by keeping infectious people away from at-risk people.

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In South Africa and India, lockdowns were lifted after around two months because they weren’t economically sustainable. However, in places that are more isolated like New Zealand, it was easier to essentially shut their borders, while places that rely heavily on international trade and migration such as South Asia or Europe found it much harder to do.

3.Why are some people less susceptible than others?

According to Jon Zelner, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, distinguishing between those who are more infectious and those less infectious could make an enormous difference in the ease and speed with which an outbreak is contained.

If the infected person is a super-spreader, contact tracing is especially important. But if the infected person is the opposite of a super-spreader, someone who for whatever reason does not transmit the virus, contact tracing can be a wasted effort.

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“The tricky part is that we don’t necessarily know who those people are,” Dr Zelner said

4.How long does immunity last after a person is infected?

So far, there’s been very few

reports

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