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Dr. Fauci Warns of These COVID Symptoms

FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Several scientific studies released this month have found that even if you contract COVID-19 and only experience mild symptoms initially, the virus can have damaging, even debilitating, long-term effects. That's a message Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, has been delivering since the pandemic's early days. It's why it's still important to take precautions against contracting COVID, including getting fully vaccinated and boosted, and following public-health guidelines on policies like masking. These are the COVID symptoms Fauci has warned about. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Long COVID Symptoms

Woman hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness with motion

"We know that you don't necessarily have to be hospitalized to get long COVID," said Dr. Anthony Fauci at a White House coronavirus briefing last month. "It ranges from people who are mildly to moderately symptomatic to individuals who are actually requiring hospitalization."

Fauci previously described long COVID: "Anywhere from 25% to 35%—or more—have lingering symptoms well beyond what you would expect from any post-viral syndrome like influenza and others. It's fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle aches, dysautonomia, sleep disturbances, and what people refer to as brain fog. That can last anywhere from weeks to months."


Type 2 Diabetes


"There are a number of factors that seem to be associated in recent studies with long COVID, ranging from things like type two diabetes to viral load … as well as things like autoantibodies. We don't really understand very much, but we're learning literally on a week-by-week, month-by-month basis," said Fauci during a press briefing last month.

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A study published this month found that up to 30% of people who've been diagnosed with COVID experience recurring symptoms a year after diagnosis. Chief among them: Fatigue. Fauci has previously likened long COVID to a chronic fatigue syndrome. "You can see people who've recovered who really do not get back to normal, that they have things that are highly suggestive of myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome—brain fog, fatigue and difficulty in concentrating," he said earlier in the pandemic.

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Leftover Virus

Woman lying on her bed with her eyes closed.

In testimony before Congress in January, Fauci said that one study—which was in the preprint stage and had not been peer-reviewed—found that autopsy reports from some people who had varying degrees of COVID (from mild to moderate) and later died found that fragments of the virus were still present in the body "There was what seems to be a persistence in multiple organ systems indicating that even if you clear the virus, one of the possibilities—and I have to emphasize possibility, because it needs to be validated—is that you don't completely clear the fragments of the virus and you have continual stimulation. Not that you're infectious or that you're going to infect anybody else, but that it is still generating perhaps an aberrant response in your immune system."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.

Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael