11 mysteries about the coronavirus and COVID-19 we have yet to solve

  • Experts continue to study the coronavirus as the number of people it infects and kills rises each day.
  • Scientists are increasingly certain the coronavirus came from bats but aren’t sure exactly how it hopped over to humans.
  • Researchers also don’t yet know why the virus doesn’t cause symptoms in most children or how long people with antibodies might be immune.
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In the realm of medicine, what you don’t know can indeed kill you.

Six months have passed since China reported the first coronavirus cases to the World Health Organization. But evn now, what experts are still trying to understand sometimes seems to outweigh what they can say for certain.

That is little surprise to any infectious-disease researcher: Highly contagious diseases can move through communities much more quickly than the methodical pace of science can produce vital answers.

What we do know is that the coronavirus seems to have emerged in China as early as mid-November and has now reached 188 countries, infected more than 10.4 million people, and killed around 510,000. Population-level studies using new testing could boost case numbers about 10-fold in the US and perhaps elsewhere as well.

As hospitals around the world care for COVID-19 patients with blood clots, strokes, and long-lasting respiratory failure, scientists are racing to study the coronavirus, spread life-saving information, and combat dangerous misunderstandings.

Here are 11 of the biggest questions surrounding the coronavirus and COVID-19, and why answering each one is critically important.

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