Dr. Fauci Shares Signs You Have Chronic COVID
The United States just has more coronavirus cases in a day since the pandemic began—with 126,742 new cases—leading experts to warn we're in for a dark and deadly winter. It was the fourth day in a week in which new cases topped 100K. One expert who warned this would happen—Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert—warned of long-lasting COVID symptoms in an interview Saturday with the American Medical Association (AMA). "We do know for absolutely certain that there is a post COVID-19 syndrome—referred to sometimes as 'long COVID,' 'chronic COVID,' 'long haulers.' It's got different names," Fauci said. Read on to see if you have any of these symptoms, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
First of All, These Symptoms Linger
"We're studying a number of cohorts now that the NIH is funding," Fauci told host James Madara, MD, AMA CEO and EVP. "And in fact, we have a program right here, here in Bethesda"—where the National Institutes of Health is based—"in which we're looking at a large cohort of post-COVID survivors. And we're seeing variable percentages in anywhere from 25 to 35% or more have lingering symptoms. Well beyond what you'd expect post any viral syndrome like influenza and others." Read on to hear the specific symptoms.
"One study of 143 people with COVID-19 discharged from a hospital in Rome found that 53% had reported fatigue and 43% had shortness of breath an average of 2 months after their symptoms started," reports Nature. "A study of patients in China showed that 25% had abnormal lung function after 3 months, and that 16% were still fatigued."
Shortness of Breath
"We know that COVID-19 attacks the lungs, causing inflammation. This may leave survivors with persistent shortness of breath," reports Hackensack Meridian Health. "Some people who recover from COVID-19 can experience a dry cough or pain when breathing after the illness. Those who had to be placed on a ventilator may have more severe symptoms." "If you've had COVID-19 and you're still having trouble breathing, talk to your doctor about a pulmonary evaluation for treatment and rehabilitation to help rebuild strength," says Laurie Jacobs, M.D., chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center.
"Besides the well-described symptoms of fever, cough, and loss of smell are other effects, including fatigue, rash, headache, abdominal pain, and diarrhea," reports MedicalXpress. "People who develop more severe forms of the disease also report confusion, severe muscle pains, cough and shortness of breath."
Dysautonomia is "a dysfunction of the nerves that regulate nonvoluntary body functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and sweating," per the Mayo Clinic. "Everyone's a little different, but some people are having excessive tachycardia, which is a fast heart rate," Lauren Stiles, the president of Dysautonomia International, told Tampa Bay 10. "Some people are having hypertension or high blood pressure or other people are feeling lightheaded and dizzy when they stand up, which is a very common symptom when your autonomic nervous system isn't working right," Stiles said.
"Half of patients recovering from COVID-19 reported difficulty sleeping as one of the lingering symptoms in a survey of more than 1,500 people in the Survivor Corp Facebook group (a resource for COVID-19 survivors with over 100,000 members)," reports the TODAY Show. "About 16% reported sleeping more than normal."
Dr. Fauci called brain fog "a nonmedical way of describing a lack of ability to concentrate or to focus." Wired interviewed Aluko Hope, a critical care specialist at Montefiore Hospital in New York City, and said of his patients: "There are memory problems. About a third of his patients say they can't recall telephone numbers they used to know, or that they struggle to remember the right word, feeling like it's on the tip of their tongue but just out of reach. They can't remember where their keys are, what basic traffic rules are. This mental fuzziness, often referred to as 'brain fog,' has become one of a number of reported Covid-19 recovery symptoms."
"The other thing we're seeing that's really quite curious and somewhat disturbing is that there have been a number of studies of people who have recovered virologically from either moderate divvied disease, or maybe severe disease, which required hospitalization," said Fauci. "You didn't have to be hospitalized to get this, but when a bunch of cardiologists did MRI scans of the heart, they found that even in asymptomatic people, about 60% of them had indication of inflammation in the heart. Now that could be of no ultimate clinical consequence, which would be fine, or it could down the pike lead to things like premature, atherosclerotic, cardiovascular disease, unexplained arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies."
"Heart damage like this might also explain some frequently reported long-term symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, and heart palpitations," says the CDC. "The risk of heart damage may not be limited to older and middle-aged adults. For example, young adults with COVID-19, including athletes, can also suffer from myocarditis."
Dr. Fauci Said These Symptoms Last Months, Possibly Longer, No One Knows
"There's no doubt that that is going on, that can last anywhere from weeks to months, and it might even be longer," he said. "And the reason we don't know it's longer because we've only been involved with the syndrome for about 10 months right now. So it could be even longer than that. If you've experienced any of the symptoms mentioned here, contact a medical professional immediately. As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your 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 COVID.