When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, even some of the most informed people knew little about coronaviruses — and far less about SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that was upending the world as we knew it.
But a prolonged global threat to commerce, lifestyles and millions of human lives has a way of focusing minds. Just six months into the pandemic, there was much we all learned, as scientists across the world turned their focus to the disease and shared their discoveries. People started tossing around terms such as airborne particles, social distancing and superspreaders.
That was just the beginning. Since then, we’ve learned a great deal more. Some of that new knowledge inspires hope, even as other emerging facts continued to fuel apprehension amid growing pandemic fatigue.
Many public health experts believe the light at the end of the tunnel is real, if the world remains vigilant about taking precautions, tracking cases and getting vaccines into arms. But even those optimists concede they are worried about the virus’s evolution and the possibility it will “learn” to evade the immune responses already triggered by infection or inoculation.