6 months after COVID-19 declared a pandemic, here’s what we’ve learned

CHICAGO (WLS) — Friday marks six months since the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. This comes as the global cases near 30 million and global deaths approach one-million.

Chicago area doctors said there’s still plenty to learning about the virus, as the fight to contain it continues.

Masks, social distancing and Zoom are words that were not part of our everyday vocabulary a short time ago.

“Certainly we’ve learned a lot on how it spreads. We know this is primarily spread through droplets that come out of our nose and mouth when we cough sneeze or talk to one another,” said Dr. Ben Singe, a Northwestern Hospital pulmonary critical care specialist.

He says knowing how it spreads from person to person has taught the medical community about the importance of social distancing and, especially, wearing masks.

“The most important reason to wear a mask is less to protect yourself, but to protect the people around,” Singer added.

While there was some mask confusion at the beginning, doctors say wearing one has proven to slow the virus down. They also say more testing is key.

Medical experts say they have learned much more about who is at risk to get very sick with the coronavirus.

“As physicians, we become more aware of who is at risk for the complications of the disease; making sure they get tested and get into care, [and] get evaluated for their oxygen levels,” said Dr. Susan Bleasdale from University of Illinois-Chicago.

Doctors have also learned a great deal about the biology of the virus, which has led to treatments like Remdesivir and will hopefully lead to a vaccine.

But, there are still many unknowns about COVID-19.

“Probably one question, in particular, is can people get infected again,” Bleasdale said.

Doctors say their biggest challenge in the past six months has been trying to get the right information to the public.

The medical community has learned that misinformation kills, and to stay safe, they urge the public to follow accurate information about prevention and treatments.