Explainer: We know much more than we did in March, but there is so much more to learn before we can finally squash the virus


WE have become a nation of boffins in the last six months.

e have all been on a steep learning curve about Covid-19, the mysterious virus which landed on our shores in late February.

Here are six things we have learned about Covid-19 since March lockdown – and six discoveries we need to make as Level 5 shutdown looms.

We now know:

1. People can have the virus but suffer no symptoms. They can feel fine but can unwittingly pass on the virus to others.

2.Younger children are not vectors for Covid-19 in the way they can spread winter flu.

3. The use of face masks is important in supermarkets, shops and public transport, and in overcrowded indoor and outdoor situations when physical distancing cannot be guaranteed.

4. Older people, including nursing home residents, may be infected but not show typical symptoms of the virus.

5. You can get Covid-19 through airborne particles in badly ventilated rooms.

6. You can be young and healthy and be infected with Covid. More people who recover, and never needed to be hospitalised, are left with lasting problems like heart conditions and fatigue. They are known as long-haulers.

We would like to know:

1. When will a Covid-19 vaccine be ready and will any of the leaders in the race from Oxford University, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson be able to deliver a safe and effective jab for rollout early next year?

2. Will long-haulers who recover from the virus have lasting damage and a lifetime of health issues?

3. What kind of protection from re-infection do antibodies, built up after contracting the virus, give to people who have got Covid-19? Several cases of re-infection have emerged worldwide.

Are these isolated cases and who is most likely to be vulnerable to getting the virus more than once?

4.Can the TB vaccine and good intake of vitamin D protect against getting the virus?

5. Why do some young healthy people have such a poor immune response to the virus and end up in hospital or intensive care?

6 Australian researchers say the virus that causes Covid-19 can survive on banknotes, glass and stainless steel for up to 28 days, much longer than the flu virus, highlighting the need for cleaning and handwashing. Exactly how long are surfaces a risk?

Online Editors

Source: Irish News