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Whar we still don't know about SARS-CoV-2

what we don't know

  • who has it / has had it / who is immune
  • what natural immunity is there, and how long does it last
  • whether second (and recurring) infections are possible
  • why do certain people have lasting consequences of infection and others(apparently) do not
  • when (if) a suitable vaccine will arrive
  • when we will have an effective "track and trace" system
  • the infection fatality rate of the disease
  • the incidence and extent of long-term disabilities

Uncertainty over who has it etc

With many people reporting no symptoms, or confusingly mild symptoms, and the general lack of testing, we are still unsure whether any of us have been infected or not. Antibody tests that would indicate whether someone has had the disease are not picking up much in the way of results. The current tests could be inaccurate and there is doubt whether the majority of us fight this particular virus with antibodies, with our T-cells being responsible for keeping the virus at bay.

The CDC in the USA has estimated tentatively that about 40 percent of coronavirus infections do not produce any symptoms. But when some people wear masks, the proportion of asymptomatic cases goes higher than 90 per cent.

There are now a number of reports that suggest that this virus is a bit like the common cold coronaviruses - once we have had it, any immunity wears off and we may well catch another dose.

On the otehr hand, there is encouraging evidence that previous exposure to other coronaviruses (there are many) could provide long-lived immunity. But we are still not sure who has this immunity.

There is currently no effective track and trace across in our region, so we have no way of knowing whether there are any infectious people near us, not whether anyone is safe from infection. The figures from an effective tracing and monitoring system would answer many of the questions we have raised, and enable us to plan safe gatherings.

Uncertainty over impact

During the early stages of the pandemic the hospitalisation rate (non-"mild" cases was 20 per cent. Has this reduced with better and more widespread testing? What is the Infection Fatality Rate?

How serious and widespread are the "Long CoVid" symptoms?

When will an effective vaccine be available?

Is a combination of face masks and social distancing enough to prevent indoor transmission? (We are guessing are that, combined with continued hand-washing and food hygiene, the risks at gatherings will become acceptable)

Are potential participants living in and travelling through areas where there is a low incidence of the virus?

We need to have answers to these questions before we can consider re-opening our indoor venues.

Data and uncertainties

We currently have poor access to data and an absesce of data at the local level

We shall continuing to monitor the situation carefully. We have found important sources of information about SAR-CoV-2 from Dr Chris Martenson Dr John Campbell on youtube Dr Bharat Pankania


As long as we lack clear research results, we will apply the Precautionary Principle. As the picture becomes clearer, we will change our policy and update these notes accordingly.and re-issue.

The perplexing consequences and patterns of the novel virus fit at least two scenarious.

First, the virus is highly infective, yet a majority of us have some form of immunity to it and shrug it off with few or even no symptoms. This suggests that the virus is already "burning through" the population. Immunity is quite high in areas that have already been affected and the chances of a "second wave" there are low. This will allow us to get back to work properly in a matter of months.

Second, the virus is not very infective, and it will take a while to run through the population. In this case, the arrival of a vaccine may help to ease "physical distancing". Without one, we are in for a tedious period of precautions.

If testing were better, we could assess the risks and make a guarded return to the classroom.

What we know about the virus

The spread of SARS-CoV-2

Staying safe

What we still don't know about the virus

Back to policy statement


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