Learning Curve: What Do We Now Know About the Novel Coronavirus?

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It has been six months since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak, and what we have learned about the deadly disease that upended our lives has changed considerably.

Dr. Summer McGee, dean of the School of Public Health at the University of New Haven, gave her take on the evolution of our understanding of the deadly coronavirus, six months in, things like, counting on warm weather for a win.

“It doesn’t look like the weather is gonna be a significant factor I think it’s gonna be more around how do people travel, what do they do when they travel.”

When it comes to the earlier concern coronavirus could live on surfaces for long periods of time, the thinking has changed.

”We don’t believe that it lives long on surfaces, so packages coming in the mail probably aren’t a big risk, but you still want to engage in regular, and vigorous hand washing when you’re touching anything from outside.”

This virus has produced more symptoms than McGee and other experts originally suspected, including stomach issues, and circulation problems,  like blood clots.  It has made straightening out how we test for coronavirus a priority for McGee. 

“You’re going to school, you’re going to work…you should be tested on a regular basis at least once a month, if not more frequently.”

McGee said she and fellow researchers have learned, don’t let your guard down on wearing the masks. 

“I think masks are one of the most essential components of how we fight this virus.  Besides social distancing, masks are the most effective tool we have," she said.

The herd immunity many have hoped for to slow down coronavirus looks a long ways away, according to McGee.

“Best estimates suggest that maybe 5 to 10% of the population of the world has been exposed to coronavirus at this point, so we’ve got a long way to go to get to the 60 or 70% that we would need for herd immunity.

What experts have also learned is, despite hopes of early treatments or vaccines, it’s likely getting over coronavirus will be a long haul. 

“There’s a lot of promise in the science, but we need to be prepared that we’re gonna need to make these modifications at least for another six months, and probably for a year.” 

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