Dr. Fauci Warns of This "Very Disturbing" COVID Symptom
Fever or chills, dry cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, loss of sense of smell and taste. These are just a few of the scary symptoms that people infected with COVID-19 are reporting. Usually it takes a few weeks—or even more than a month—for these manifestations of the highly infectious virus to subside. Most people do get better. However, there are some people who are battling symptoms of the virus long after the infection subsides, a phenomenon that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, deems "very disturbing." Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
He's Concerned for 'Long-Haulers'
During an Instagram interview with actor and UT Austin Professor Matthew McConaughey last year, the NIH Director expressed his concern about what the group of people the medical world has come to describe as "long haulers."
"We're starting to see more and more people who apparently recover from the actual viral part of it, and then weeks later, they feel weak, they feel tired, they feel sluggish, they feel short of breath," Fauci, the President's Chief Medical Advisor, explained. "It's a chronic projection forward of symptoms, even though the virus is gone, and we think that's probably an immunological effect."
He admitted that although health experts are researching the phenomenon and learning more about it every week, they are still puzzled why some people are left with these puzzling symptoms, while others make a complete recovery. "We need to dig in and do the work that needs to be done to help relieve the suffering and stop this madness," said Dr. Michael Saag, an infectious disease expert from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in December, when co-chairing a session about long haulers at the NIH.
"It's very disturbing, because if this is true for a lot of people, then just recovering from this may not be OK," said Fauci. "Those individuals had their acute illness several months ago and they've been suffering pretty mightily since then," Dr. Saag said. "And the fact that they're still struggling with this gives extra power to what we're trying to do today."
The CDC Confirms His Worries
In late July, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report confirming that thirty-five percent of coronavirus sufferers surveyed by the agency were still experiencing its wrath two to three weeks after testing positive for the virus. An interesting aspect of their study is that they only surveyed individuals with the virus who hadn't been admitted into a hospital, signifying a seemingly milder infection. Additionally, those who reported lingering symptoms weren't just older people. 26% of those between the ages of 18 to 34 and 32% of those 35 to 49 reported longer term symptoms.
"COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness even among persons with milder outpatient illness, including young adults," the report's authors wrote. Until a vaccine is widely available, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.