7 things we've learned about COVID-19 in the last 7 months

Since the World Health Organization first tweeted about an outbreak in China on January 4, here are seven things we have learned about COVID-19.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- It was January 4 when the World Health Organization tweeted about a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China.



While health officials agree that much is still unknown about what we now call COVID-19, we do have much more information today than we did seven months ago.

Here are seven things we have learned about coronavirus so far.

1. Scientists say you can get reinfected with COVID-19

Can you get coronavirus twice? Researchers in Hong Kong claim to have the first evidence of someone being reinfected with the virus.

Hong Kong man 'first case' documented of getting coronavirus twice, researchers say.

Dr. Anthony Cardillo, CEO of Mend Urgent Care and ER physician, said that one could "100%" get reinoculated with COVID-19.

"You could have been infected back in March, April, May or June, you go back to normal life and someone sneezes on your coughs on you, and now you get inoculated again," Cardillo said. "The big unknown with COVID is does that first infection that you have confer immunity for this second infection? Nobody knows the answer to that question."

2. 'Long haulers' are still experiencing symptoms

Tens of thousands of people who had COVID-19, known as 'long haulers,' say they continue to experience lingering symptoms of the virus for weeks to months after the initial infection.

"There have been multiple studies in multiple countries that have shown that weeks to many months later, patients are still experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, brain fog, numbness and tingling in their extremities, their arms or their feet," said Dr. Michael Daignault, ER physician with Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.

3. Kids can get and spread COVID-19

When it comes to COVID-19 and children, we know that kids can get coronavirus and spread it, but there is a lot that we're still figuring out.

"Kids 10 to 11 years old and older can spread the virus just like adults to," said Dr. Rishma Chand, pediatrician with Dignity Health Northridge Hospital. "We don't know a lot about transmission and younger children yet."

Chand said the most common reported symptoms in children have been fever and cough.

4. You can test positive after you recover from COVID-19

Doctors said patients have continually tested positive for COVID-19 after recovering from the virus, which they attribute to the testing process.

"The test is sensitive for that mRNA of the virus," said Daignault. "So, those were just viral fragments that were retained in the nose in the mouth that do not indicate that the patient is still infected or contagious of the virus."

5. The virus lives on surfaces

Research suggests that the most common method of transmission is through respiratory droplets, like coughing or sneezing.

Dr. Cardillo confirmed that COVID-19 can be transmitted by touching surfaces and then touching your face.

"It's not as likely to get infected that way as it is that person to person contact the risk for droplet transmission, but they're both ways of transmitting the virus," said Cardillo.

6. Antibody testing isn't reliable just yet

Doctors say the reliability of antibody tests is all about timing.

"The utility of antibody testing is limited," said Daignault. "It's good if you do it right after an infection. But if you do it two or three months later and you don't have antibodies in your in your test, that doesn't mean that you weren't necessarily infected."

7. A vaccine is on the way

In early August, Russia became the first country to officially register a coronavirus vaccine and declare it ready for use, despite international skepticism from the medical community.

In America, Dr. Cardillo said there are six strong contenders that are going through the third phase of clinical trials.

"They're enrolling tens of thousands of people, they're all getting vaccinated now, and we are watching to see who gets infected and watching to see how many of those who are vaccinated who got infected are seriously ill versus only mildly ill," Dr. Cardillo said.

Dr. Cardillo expects a vaccine in America by January or February 2021.

Regarding face masks, while information has changed over the last several months, studies suggest that face masks, particularly what kind of face mask and how you wear it, are important.

See more: UNC study finds uncovered nose may heighten COVID-19 infection risk

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