Our understanding of Covid-19 as a disease has evolved rapidly over the course of the pandemic. While many aspects of Covid-19—from its symptoms to its duration to its short- and long-term aftereffects—remain difficult to pin down, we now have enough data to identify four broad stages of infection that can guide us going forward.

To grasp the complete picture, it helps to look back on how each individual piece of the puzzle fell into place. The story began, like most mysteries, with an emerging problem and a complete lack of knowledge. In the first few weeks of the outbreak, Covid-19 appeared to be nothing more than a serious pneumonia. Symptom-wise, it seemed similar enough to what some people experience when they contract a severe case of the flu.

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Originally published on Forbes (July 24, 2020)