The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique knowledge dilemma . What do we know? What don ’ t we know? What do we not even know we don ’ t know? While we are in the midst of the global COVID-19 crisis, this article attempts to make sense of the pandemic from a knowledge perspective . An analysis based on the classic four-quadrant ‘ conscious–competence ’ framework examines the current state of the COVID-19 crisis . It draws on qualitative current media reporting limited to international, fact-checked coverage of the pandemic . The focus of the analysis is on the first quadrimester of 2020, during which the pandemic made its first appearance . The analysis highlights key junctures along the evolving knowledge trajectory . The article posits that while progress is evident on many fronts, we are as yet primarily in the ‘ conscious–ignorance ’ learning stage in which a knowledge base-line is in the process of being established.