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30 things we've learned about COVID-19 since January

  • 30 things learned about COVID-19 since January

    Since the initial outbreak, much has been learned about COVID-19. It’s also known that spreading wrong information is dangerous and does little to help flatten the curve and contain the coronavirus. New information on COVID-19 is released daily, but some facts about the virus and its disease remain true.

    Stacker used compilation articles in STAT and Scientific American to pull together a list of findings summarizing the current state of scientific knowledge on the coronavirus and the disease it causes. The findings in this story come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, scientific papers, and credible news organizations.

    It’s still true that some fundamental practices can help stop the spread of the coronavirus, including mask-wearing, social distancing, and sanitizing, but some lesser-known facts also warrant attention. Women tend to fare better when contracting the virus than men, race plays a significant role in who survives the virus, and people over 60 are more at risk for becoming very ill. People with underlying conditions are also more vulnerable to the coronavirus. Yet, there are still many things that researchers do not know about it and continue to search for answers.

    It can be challenging to keep up with the spread of information about the coronavirus. Scientists learn new things about it daily, which is why Stacker has taken the time to break down some of the more essential facts. It has included linked resources and details and data from reputable sources so you can read more about particular studies and understand some slides in more detail.

    Scientists have been working on a vaccine for COVID-19 for months, and many of those options are now in the human trial phase. While the world waits for this vaccine, understanding the virus and how to prevent its spread is vital.

    Read on to learn more about the coronavirus and COVID-19. Know the facts.

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  • The coronavirus most likely originated in bats

    At the start of the pandemic, it was believed that the coronavirus primarily originated in bats. The current hypothesis is that the virus did originate in bats, but then jumped to humans through pangolins. The precise route of transmission is not yet known.

  • Only one major strain of the coronavirus has been identified

    While widely assumed, alternate strains of the coronavirus have not been identified. The coronaviruses do not mutate rapidly, and only one strain, or genetic sequence, of the virus has been found.

  • The coronavirus primarily spreads through the air

    Sanitizing surfaces is essential in trying to stop the spread of the virus, but the coronavirus is predominantly spread through the air, making an emphasis on ventilation more crucial than surface cleaning. It’s been found that poorly ventilated spaces can be a breeding ground for the coronavirus.

  • Contaminated surfaces are still a concern

    The coronavirus spreads more rapidly through the air than through surface touch, but contaminated surfaces can still cause infections. High-touch surfaces, such as door knobs, light switches, and faucets should be cleaned regularly in any setting.

  • People without symptoms can spread COVID-19

    People with no symptoms of COVID-19, or with very few symptoms of it can quickly and effectively spread the virus. These people may be superspreaders. The term “asymptomatic” about COVID-19 is a misnomer as all people that contract the virus have symptoms—and could be considered “presymptomatic”—not being sick enough to seek medical attention.

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  • Outdoor gatherings can be safe

    Outdoor activities such as exercise, including walking, running or biking, and playing golf or tennis, are safer than indoor gatherings. While this may be the case, social distancing, mask-wearing, and sanitizing methods should remain intact whether inside or outside to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • The coronavirus spreads quickly in communal living facilities

    The coronavirus spreads rapidly in communal living spaces such as retirement homes and prisons. In the United States, 42% of deaths have been in long-term care facilities. “Nursing homes have been ground zero for COVID-19,” said Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

  • Loud talking and singing spread virus more

    People who talk loudly and those who sing in choirs tend to spread the coronavirus more often than people who do not. Mask-wearing can prevent the spread of the larger droplets emitted into the air by loud talkers and singers.

  • Superspreader events disproportionately drive outbreaks

    Superspreader events are responsible for spreading COVID-19 on a large scale. Big crowds, close contact, and poorly ventilated spaces spur the spread of COVID-19 during superspreader events. It’s been reported that 80% of the spread of COVID-19 is caused by 10% to 20% of the infected people present at superspreader events.

  • Children are less likely to contract and spread the coronavirus

    When it comes to the coronavirus and young children, they are more likely to be asymptomatic, but can still spread COVID-19 to both adults and other children. It is evident that infected children can have milder cases of COVID-19 than adults, and it’s been determined that death or severe illness risks remain low.

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