What we all know now about COVID-19: Restoration is tough, masks assist, kids may be carriers and extra


It’s been greater than seven months since China first reported a cluster of unexplained circumstances of pneumonia, and we’re nonetheless studying how the novel coronavirus spreads and what we will do to defeat it.
The state of affairs with COVID-19 is each higher and worse than we knew a couple of months in the past, as a result of many individuals expertise gentle signs and a few report no signs.
The excellent news is that which means the chances any explicit one who will get the virus might be hospitalized or die are decrease than we initially thought.
The unhealthy information is that these folks can unknowingly unfold the virus, placing others vulnerable to critical sickness or loss of life. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention estimates as a lot as 40% of unfold may very well be occurring earlier than folks develop signs, which makes the virus notably troublesome to include.
The Denver Submit put collectively this information of what we do and don’t find out about COVID-19. This info will evolve as scientists maintain finding out the brand new coronavirus.
Restoration isn’t easy
Whereas some folks really feel higher inside per week or two, others wrestle with signs of the virus for a month or longer. A research by CDC researchers discovered about one-fifth of individuals they surveyed between ages 18 and 34 nonetheless had signs greater than two weeks after being identified with COVID-19. About one-third of middle-aged folks had lingering signs, as did about half of adults older than 50. The most typical complaints have been fatigue, physique aches and a lingering cough.
Even individuals who report they by no means skilled signs can present indicators of lung injury, although that could be non permanent, consultants say.
It’s not solely clear why some folks have lingering signs and others don’t. One concept is that some folks’s immune methods overreact and proceed to wreck tissues after the virus is gone. One other is that the virus could conceal out within the physique and proceed to trigger injury. It’s additionally attainable that there may very well be some clarification, or that each the immune system and the virus might play a job.
Some therapies seem to work, others disappoint
Sufferers who have been hospitalized with the virus in Colorado in Might had a greater probability of surviving than those that bought sick in March.  It’s attainable that variations in sufferers’ underlying well being may very well be an element, however Colorado hospital leaders suppose that rising data concerning the virus has additionally helped.
One factor we’ve realized is that sufferers with low oxygen ranges, however who don’t really feel starved for air and aren’t exhibiting indicators of cognitive hassle, generally do higher with less-invasive helps like oxygen masks than in the event that they’re positioned on a ventilator. Ventilators may be lifesaving for some folks, however additionally they require heavy sedation, which carries its personal dangers, and a few folks’s lungs are broken when oxygen is pressured in.
Just one medicine, a steroid referred to as dexamethasone, lowered the chances of dying for the sickest sufferers, in accordance with a big British research. A evaluate of drug analysis revealed in The British Medical Journal discovered it additionally might cut back the chances sufferers would progress to needing a ventilator.
Remdisivir, an antiviral drug, has been proven to cut back the time till sufferers have recovered sufficient to go away the hospital, however it’s not clear that it reduces the chances of dying from COVID-19.
Hydroxychloroquine seems to have been a bust for COVID-19, with research discovering it didn’t cut back the chances of dying for severely sick sufferers, or cut back the chances of needing supplemental oxygen or a ventilator for many who have been reasonably sick. Trials additionally haven’t discovered any proof that it reduces the chances of growing the illness if an individual has already been uncovered to the virus.
Research are ongoing to find out whether or not taking it earlier than publicity reduces the chances of getting contaminated.
Masks aren’t good, however they assist
An evaluation of 30 research revealed by the journal Lancet discovered mask-wearing was related to a lowered danger of an infection, although the profit was biggest when utilizing a medical-grade masks. One other research, in Well being Affairs, discovered that states that adopted masks mandates noticed declines in new circumstances sooner than states that didn’t.
It’s not clear if selfmade masks profit the wearer, by blocking droplets from different individuals who may be contaminated, or in the event that they solely cut back unfold locally by protecting the wearer from exhaling droplets that infect others. Medical-grade masks can block transmission in each instructions.
The virus might unfold via the air, however how usually does it?
The World Well being Group initially thought the virus primarily unfold via the massive droplets produced when folks cough or sneeze, which shortly fall after expulsion. Below that situation, the most important danger could be being near somebody who’s spewing droplets, or touching one thing they touched after overlaying their coughs.
Extra lately, nevertheless, they’ve accepted that the virus could also be spreading in a lot smaller drops, referred to as aerosols, that we produce when talking. Aerosols can keep within the air for nearly 15 minutes indoors, elevating the likelihood that merely being in a shared area with an individual who has the virus might result in unfold. We don’t know if the virus usually spreads that means in real-world settings, although, as a result of elements like air flow could make a giant distinction in how lengthy aerosols stick round.
Youngsters can get contaminated, however how properly do they unfold the virus?
Some early research steered folks underneath 20 are much less prone to get contaminated and unfold the virus than adults. Different research, like one in South Korea, discovered children who’re 10 or older may be as contagious as adults. That raises the likelihood that youngsters can infect others, however weren’t being recognized as a result of that they had gentle signs and have been much less prone to be examined.
Actual-world examples have raised issues that youngsters can transmit the virus extra effectively than beforehand believed. At a small camp in Georgia, greater than half of the 600 folks current examined optimistic for the virus, after testing unfavourable earlier than they arrived. Youngsters youthful than 10 have been no much less doubtless than older teenagers and young-adult counselors to check optimistic, in accordance with The New York Occasions.
Some little one care facilities have been capable of function in coronavirus hotspots with out growing clusters of circumstances, however it’s not clear if their experiences may be scaled up. In some facilities, every grownup hung out with a “pod” of 9 kids, in accordance with NPR — a ratio that’s not possible in most lecture rooms as colleges start to reopen.
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Antibodies fade, however we don’t know what which means
Antibodies to the virus can disappear inside a couple of months, however it’s not clear how lengthy immunity may final afterward — or if it develops in any respect. Antibodies are only one a part of the immune system’s protection, so it’s attainable individuals who bought the virus (or a vaccine, when one turns into obtainable) might be protected after they fade. Then again, it hasn’t been confirmed that folks with COVID-19 develop immunity, so that you don’t wish to abandon precautions simply but, even if you happen to already bought sick.
Some folks could have gotten the virus twice, however consultants say that’s unlikely to be a typical drawback. It’s nonetheless unclear how lengthy the virus can linger within the physique, and whether or not individuals who proceed to check optimistic weeks after an infection can go it to others.
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