- Some coronavirus patients are showing signs of heart damage even weeks after their initial diagnosis. Dr. Fauci said the issue “could lead to arrhythmias later on or lead to cardiomyopathies.”
- Heart damage has even been observed in asymptomatic coronavirus patients.
- Fauci added that it’s too early to know whether or not coronavirus-related heart damage will clear up on its own or cause longstanding issues.
Now that we’re a few months into the coronavirus pandemic, it’s become evident that the virus is far more capable than initially imagined. Though the coronavirus is, strictly speaking, a respiratory illness, it also can attack all of a person’s major organs and, in turn, wreak havoc across the whole body. Just this month, researchers discovered that the coronavirus can even cause lung and heart damage in patients who are otherwise asymptomatic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci brought this topic to light last week during an appearance 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 said.
And while it’s possible that patients with heart inflammation might see the problem clear up on its own later on down the line, that’s by no means a guarantee. If anything, Fauci articulated that it’s just as possible that the heart damage caused by the coronavirus could be long-lasting.
“When you have inflammation you can have scarring,” Fauci articulated. “That could lead to arrhythmias later on or lead to cardiomyopathies.”
All the same, Fauci acknowledged that it’s a bit too early to draw any sweeping conclusions and that it’s something “we need to keep our eye on.”
“It could clear up and they could have no problem for the rest of their lives,” Fauci also postulated.
“These are the kinds of things that tell us, we must be humble and that we do not completely understand the nature of this illness,” Fauci added.
Heart damage aside, longlasting damage to the lungs remains a concern as well. The aforementioned research study specifically found that 88% of coronavirus patients exhibited signs of lung damage even weeks after their initial diagnosis.
The study reads in part:
The results reveal that six weeks after leaving hospital, 88% of patients still showed signs of lung damage in CT scans – such as patches resembling ground glass – while 47% of patients were experiencing breathlessness. At 12 weeks, these figures were 56% and 39% respectively.
Beyond heart and lung damage, some coronavirus patients have noticed that some of their symptoms can linger on for months. A CDC report highlighted the issue this past July, noting that some patients are still enduring the following symptoms months after their initial diagnosis: fatigue, cough, body aches, congestion, loss of taste and smell, and chest pain. Some patients have also reported cognitive issues such as confusion and an inability to concentrate on a single task for a sustained period of time.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of slowing down in the US. Data from this weekend show that the rate of new coronavirus infections is on the decline in only 10 states. About 19 states are seeing their coronavirus infection rate remain steady while 21 states are reporting an increase in new coronavirus cases. Even New York City, which did an impressive job of battling the pandemic, saw more than 1,000 new cases per day for the first time since June.
NBC New York adds:
The number of positive tests reported daily in the state has been steadily inching up in recent weeks, a trend possibly related to increasing numbers of businesses reopening, college campuses reopening and children returning to school. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday there were 1,005 positive cases tallied on the previous day, Friday, out of 99,953 tests, for a 1% positive rate.
Looking ahead, health experts believe that a massive spike in new infections across the country is probable due to impending colder weather and the arrival of flu season.