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New study shows surviving is just the start of your fight against COVID-19

Published Oct 21st, 2020 9:08PM EDT
Coronavirus Symptoms
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  • Many coronavirus survivors experience lingering symptoms for months after making an otherwise healthy recovery.
  • Some of the symptoms most likely to linger include fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, and confusion.
  • More recent studies have found that many coronavirus survivors exhibit signs of lung and heart damage months after leaving the hospital.

A new study from the University of British Columbia (UBC) reveals that 76% of coronavirus positive patients still experience symptoms months after making a seemingly healthy recovery. According to the research report, which was brought to light via CTV News this week, the list of coronavirus symptoms most likely to linger includes fatigue, shortness of breath, sleep issues, and anxiety.

“When we did breathing tests for people three months after symptom onset,” lead author Dr. Alyson explained, “over half of those patients had abnormality in their breathing test. When we looked at follow-up imaging and we did CT scans … three months after symptom onset, 88 percent of patients had persistent abnormalities, which was much higher than what we were expecting.”

Moreover, 20% of patients involved in the study showed signs of lung scarring, a phenomenon that other researchers have also found in separate studies.

“Much like scarring in another part of the body, it’s essentially permanent,” researcher Dr. Chris Carlsten said. “That scarring will lead to some comprise in lung function.”

While Doctors have long been aware of lingering coronavirus symptoms, it’s only recently that we’ve started to get a clearer picture as to how the body is impacted by the coronavirus months down the line.

Recall that Dr. Anthony Fauci brought up the issue of lingering coronavirus symptoms this past August:

We’d better be careful when we say ‘Young people who don’t wind up in the hospital are fine, let them get infected, it’s OK.’ No, it’s not OK. In individuals who are young and otherwise healthy who don’t require hospitalization but do get sick and symptomatic enough to be in bed for a week or two or three and then get better, they clear the virus – they have residual symptoms for weeks and sometimes months.

More recently, it’s come to light that recovered coronavirus patients tend to exhibit lung and heart damage months afterward. A September study out of Austria found that 56% of coronavirus patients exhibited signs of lung damage three months after leaving the hospital.

That 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.

You might also recall that Fauci brought this particular issue to the forefront while speaking before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in late September.

“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.

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

Some other coronavirus symptoms which tend to stick around for months after a positive diagnosis include cough, congestion, loss of taste and smell, chest pain, and confusion.

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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