Long-Term Effects of the Coronavirus
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Uncertainty has been the trademark of both the economic and public health crises caused by the coronavirus. Occasionally that’s not a bad thing — like in the emerging consensus that the initial models for case fatality rates and ICU beds needed were too high.
But over the last few days, several new reports on the nature of the coronavirus showed how much more we need to learn about the virus before the effects of reopening the country can be fully anticipated.
Below are four such alarming studies — though approach with some caution, as the clinical understanding of the outbreak continues to change as testing expands.
Scientists report a case of a body infecting a live patient
Let’s begin with the most morbid detail: Thailand is now reporting the first fatal case of coronavirus that was transmitted from a deceased patient to a medical examiner.
“Not just the medical examiners, but morgue technicians and the people in funeral homes need to take extra care,” Angelique Corthals, a professor of pathology at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told BuzzFeed News.
With the high daily death count pushing the capacity of morgues in cities across the country, the concern that bodies could transmit the virus is especially alarming, considering pictures from Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit showing bodies piled in vacant spaces in the facility. The coronavirus may have severe impacts on liver and heart function in some patients
For the vast majority of those who contract the virus and live, the Los Angeles Times reported on some potential and distressing long-term effects of COVID-19 coming out of a study published in China:
In a study posted this week, scientists in China examined the blood test results of 34 COVID-19 patients over the course of their hospitalization. In those who survived mild and severe disease alike, the researchers found that many of the biological measures had “failed to return to normal.”
Chief among the worrisome test results were readings that suggested these apparently recovered patients continued to have impaired liver function. That was the case even after two tests for the live virus had come back negative and the patients were cleared to be discharged.
At the same time, as cardiologists are contending with the immediate effects of COVID-19 on the heart, they’re asking how much of the damage could be long-lasting. In an early study of COVID-19 patients in China, heart failure was seen in nearly 12% of those who survived, including in some who had shown no signs of respiratory distress. While concerning, the size of the study is far too small to draw a big-picture, epidemiological understanding of COVID-19’s long-term effects on the body.
Another caveat noted by the LA Times: The assessment of organ failure in coronavirus survivors is complicated by that fact that “patients with disorders that affect the heart, liver, blood and lungs face a higher risk of becoming very sick with COVID-19 in the first place.
That makes it difficult to distinguish COVID-19 after-effects from the problems that made patients vulnerable to begin with — especially so early in the game.” https://youtu.be/6cMb-UFgTfY
The probability and strategy guide opens more easily so that you can have multiple windows by Covid-19.