As researchers have been studying COVID-19 since the virus was introduced to the world late last year, there have been two questions that continue to perplex them. One is why a large chunk of people (thought to be between 40% and 45%) have no symptoms to the point where they don’t even realize they’re infected, yet it’s deadly for others—especially older people and those with risk factors like diabetes and obesity. The other is why some people—even those who only have mild cases—have symptoms that have continued for months. And the concern is that some of those issues may never truly go away for those individuals.

Hammonton Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has four long-term effects of COVID-19 that have been widely reported.


  • Lung Scarring


Due to the aggressive response the immune system has towards COVID-19, spaces in the lungs (that make it easier to breathe) fill with pus and other debris. These are called ground-glass opacities, and people having this issue report a persistent dry cough and a burning feeling in the lungs. A study of 70 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in China found 66 of them to have lung damage, and it was feared that there could be some permanent damage in around half of those cases.


  • Blood Clotting


There has been a high rate of blood clots reported in COVID-19 hospital patients. It’s believed that the clotting is caused by inflammatory responses to the infection, and the clots can cause serious problems like strokes, embolisms, and heart attacks. 


  • Heart Damage


In patients who had low oxygen levels while sick with COVID-19, many could be dealing with long-lasting heart damage. Scientists believe there are two reasons behind this: first, low oxygen levels put more stress on the heart, and second, the virus may be getting into the heart itself and inflaming the muscle.


  • Neurological and Mental Health Impacts


Neurological issues like headaches, dizziness, and loss of taste and smell have lingered in some people who became ill from the virus. There are also concerns about people’s mental health if they are dealing with symptoms for months on end, especially if their illness required a lengthy hospital stay where they were unable to have visitors. 


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