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All Your Coronavirus Questions, Answered

All Your Coronavirus Questions, Answered

One of the worst symptoms of any plague is uncertainty—who it will strike, when it will end, why it began. Merely understanding a pandemic does not stop it, but an informed public can help curb its impact and slow its spread. It can also provide a certain ease of mind in a decidedly uneasy time. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 pandemic from TIME’s readers, along with the best and most current answers science can provide.

A note about our sourcing: While there are many, many studies underway investigating COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-19, the novel coronavirus that causes the illness, it is still essentially brand new to science. As a result, while we’ve drawn primarily on peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals, we have cited some yet-to-be-published research into important aspects of COVID-19 when appropriate.

Coronavirus FAQ

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

All Your Coronavirus Questions, Answered

Studies have shown that while some COVID-19 patients get only very mild symptoms or none at all, some can develop severe pneumonia and other health issues. A World Health Organization report from February found that around 80% of patients with laboratory confirmed cases “have mild disease and recover.” Researchers are not certain how many people infected with the virus are nearly or entirely asymptomatic. “There is not a single reliable study to determine the number of [asymptomatic sufferers],” says a metastudy conducted by scientists from Oxford University, and published online on April 6. “It is likely we will only learn the true extent once population-based antibody testing is undertaken,” write the study authors. (The metastudy, which looked at 21 earlier studies from around the world, has not been peer-reviewed.) The only way to know for sure if you are infected with SARS-CoV-19, the virus that causes COVID-19, is to get tested.

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