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Virus Expert Says 5 Things Everyone Should Hear Now

Five things to know right now about COVID.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

While COVID cases are declining, the side effects of the virus aren't going away anytime soon. Many are battling serious health issues as a result of COVID, which has researchers scrambling to learn why the virus is causing long-term problems for some. Dr. Javeed Siddiqui MD/MPH, Infectious Diseases Specialist – based in California, is a Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at TeleMed2U tells Eat This, Not That! Health, "The most significant effects of COVID-19 involve the lungs, the heart and the vascular system. Vaccination is essential as is social distancing and wearing a mask. Prevention is the best treatment." Read below to find out what experts are warning people about and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Lung Issues

Doctor check up x-ray image have problem lung tumor of patient.

According to Dr. Siddiqui, "Covid-19 can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).This occurs from the damage the virus induced in the lung. The profound cytokines storm and acute lung injury can cause the alveoli to fill with fluid and make oxygen exchange very difficult to almost impossible. This can lead to permanent damage to the lungs known as fibrosis."


COVID Can Cause Severe Heart Damage

Young woman feeling sick and holding her chest in pain at home.

Dr. Siddiqui says, "Covid-19 can also infect the heart causing viral myocarditis. This infection results in compromising the heart ability to function. This can lead to heart failure and the complications of heart failure. Some individuals with myocarditis recover fully, some partially and others can have permanent significant compromised heart function." 


Blood Clotting

Middle-aged woman suffering from pain in leg at home, closeup

"In addition, this viral infection sets off an intense inflammatory response," he explains. "This can lead to blood clots in the vascular system. These clots can cause loss of blood flow to fingers/ toes and the limb altogether. Some individuals have to have extremities amputated due to these blood clots. In addition a blood clot in the brain is known as a stroke. This can result in significant and permanent damage to the brain. Furthermore the blood clots can affect the functioning of organs such as the liver or kidneys. Some of these patients can require the need for dialysis. These are some of the serious and possibly permanent aspects of Covid 19 infection."

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COVID is Not the Flu!

Sick woman with flu at home

Erica Susky, an Infection Control Practitioner (ICP) in hospital epidemiology says, "A lot of people do not see firsthand in the hospitals and Intensive Care Units how there are still quite a large number of people acquiring severe COVID-19. They do not experience situations where people are admitted to a hospital, require mechanical ventilation, and die of the Omicron VOC. Even if a small proportion of Omicron cases are severe, the ease at which Omicron spreads compared to previous VOCs mean that there still is a large number of people getting severe COVID-19 from the Omicron VOC. The ease of spread also affects hospitals as it becomes more challenging to prevent the spread of Omicron within hospitals. Because of Omicron, hospitals are now also struggling with outbreaks. The quality of hospitals and the care they provide needs to be maintained to treat all those that need it, not only those with COVID-19. The Omicron VOC is making it a challenge to maintain the quality of care expected from healthcare."

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How Omicron is Different from Influenza

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Susky explains, "The Omicron VOC is not yet something that should be compared to influenza as it is still a newer pathogen (emerging in late 2019) that has not yet achieved endemicity worldwide like influenza. Before the Omicron VOC becomes endemic, it is difficult to predict what may occur with the evolution of SARS-Cov-2; another VOC may yet emerge. There remains a proportion of new COVID-19 cases with the Omicron VOC that can get severe COVID-19 and this is still putting greater strain on hospitals than annual influenza seasons in the past.  Another way that SARS-CoV-2 differs is that the symptoms and side effects of the virus are much more varied than with influenza. COVID-19 has the ability to cause pneumonia and respiratory failure and the worsening of many chronic conditions much like influenza, but there is coagulopathy (which can lead to strokes) that is seen in COVID-19 which would not manifest with influenza." 

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted 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.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather