Science & Environment

The known unknowns

The recent outbreak of the Delta variant led to a number of unintended consequences. Growers dumped thousands of flowers they weren’t allowed to sell. Auckland factories producing construction materials were shuttered for five weeks. Deaths from influenza are at an all-time low. Now, New Zealand needs to decide how to manage COVID-19, based on incomplete information about its risks. Some of the most crucial metrics are ones we don’t have—such as how many people develop long-term illnesses. This is what we wish we knew.

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