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Here’s the scary thing about the coronavirus that so many people still don’t realize

Published Nov 13th, 2020 9:08AM EST
Image: Fabian/Adobe

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  • A new CDC report reveals that nearly 10% of coronavirus patients return to the hospital within two months of discharge.
  • Many coronavirus patients experience lingering symptoms months after leaving the hospital. These individuals are known as ‘long haulers’ while the affliction itself is known as Long COVID.
  • Coronavirus symptoms likely to linger include brain fog, memory loss, cough, and fatigue.

A new CDC report highlights one of the scariest and least understood aspects of the coronavirus, namely that the virus, for thousands of people, simply doesn’t go away. The CDC’s latest Morbidity and Mortality report reveals that thousands of COVID-19 patients who needed hospital treatment between March and July ultimately required additional hospitalization within two months of discharge.

The CDC report specifically notes that among a field of 106,543 coronavirus patients who survived their initial hospital stay, 9,504 of them (or 9%) returned to the same hospital just a few short weeks later. What’s more, 1,667 patients were readmitted more than once.

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It of course goes without saying that there are a few risk factors that increase the odds of a COVID-19 patient being admitted to a hospital twice:

The odds of hospital readmission increased with age among persons aged ≥65 years, presence of certain chronic conditions, hospitalization within the 3 months preceding the index hospitalization, and if discharge from the index hospitalization was to a SNF or to home with health care assistance. These results support recent analyses that found chronic conditions to be significantly associated with hospital readmission (6,7) and could be explained by the complications of underlying conditions in the presence of COVID-19…

The CDC report isn’t all that surprising as we’ve seen a growing number of reports involving seemingly recovered coronavirus patients who experience lingering symptoms sometimes weeks and months after their initial diagnosis. This affliction has been come to be known as Long COVID.

Some of the more common coronavirus symptoms that seem to persist for months include fatigue, breathing issues, body aches, the loss of taste and smell, and an assortment of cognitive issues. The cognitive issues coronavirus patients experience most often include memory loss and trouble concentrating for a sustained period of time.

The aforementioned CDC report aligns up well with a recent study that found that “age was significantly associated with Long-COVID.” The study, which is in the process of being peer-reviewed, reads in part:

We examined whether there were different types of symptomatology within Long-COVID. We found two main patterns: those reporting exclusively fatigue, headache and upper respiratory complaints (shortness of breath, sore throat, persistent cough and loss of smell) and those with multi-system complaints including ongoing fever and gastroenterological symptoms.

Interestingly, the study also found that an ongoing fever and a sudden loss of appetite were two indications that a patient was likely to experience Long COVID.

One of the scarier long-term ramifications of a COVID-19 infection is damage to both the heart and lungs. What’s more, there is growing evidence that even coronavirus patients who are asymptomatic can experience heart and lung damage.

To this point, a September study from Austrian researchers found that 88% of coronavirus patients exhibited signs of lung damage six weeks after leaving the hospital. Notably, the percentage dropped down to 56% after 12 weeks.

Dr. Anthony Fauci brought the issue to the limelight last month while appearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

“We found to our dismay that a number of individuals who have completely recovered and apparently are asymptomatic, when they have sensitive imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance, imaging, or MRI, have found to have a disturbing number of individuals who have inflammation of the heart,” Fauci explained to lawmakers.

“When you have inflammation you can have scarring,” Fauci added, “that could lead to arrhythmias later on or lead to cardiomyopathies.”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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