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Long-Term Health Impairment after Covid-19

 

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The good news about Covid-19 is that the survival rates are very high, and healthy adults are very likely to recover from the infection. However, it is still too early to predict the kind of damage that the infection will leave on the system, even after a complete recovery.

Some studies from China, the origin of the outbreak, seem to indicate that the lung damage may continue to impact the person, even after a full recovery. When doctors in Hong Kong country monitored 12 patients who had recovered from the Corona virus, they found that several of them continued to suffer from respiratory problems and were gasping when walking after recovery. Their lung functioning was about 20 to 30 percent lower after recovery.

When the doctors analyzed scans of the patients’ lungs, they found signs of damage. However, the sample was far too small to be taken as evidence that the infection will leave behind lung damage. But it does alert doctors treating Covid-19 patients to the possibility that there may be other complications from Covid-19, even after a complete recovery from the disease.

There are also indications that the lungs may not be the only organs damaged by the virus. The National Health Commission of China recently published findings, mentioning liver damage brought about the virus. Patients who suffered Covid-19 seemed to have higher rates of liver dysfunction.  So far, there is no evidence that any of these cases of liver damage will be permanent.

With the focus now on containing the outbreak, there has not been enough focus on the health of survivors, or follow ups to determine  the level of impact, if any, they have suffered as a result of the infection. In coming months, we will learn if these cases of organ damage are more common, or confined to fewer sections of the population who have survived the disease.