The new mysteries of coronavirus

What should be done as we try to unravel them?

Question marks.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

In some of the hardest hit parts of the West, the pandemic is starting to peak. In Italy, the daily number of new confirmed cases peaked on March 21; the daily number of deaths peaked on March 27. In New York, the peak day for new confirmed cases may have been April 4, and new deaths are trending down. It is entirely reasonable for these countries and states to start talking about — and planning for — a relaxation of restrictions and a resumption of economic and social life on some terms.

But what terms? To be effective, any strategy for relaxing restrictions needs to be informed by a more detailed understanding of the virus — what facilitates its spread, and where its spread is most dangerous. Unfortunately, as the pandemic has progressed, everything we've learned has simultaneously opened up new mysteries, ones with a direct bearing on addressing the next phase of the crisis.

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