What we know about COVID-19, what we do not know


After the storm, there are often lingering effects

NAME a body part or system and COVID-19 has left its fingerprints there. We know this: Unusually sticky blood can clog vessels on the way to the heart and inside the brain and lungs of infected people, causing heart attacks, strokes, and deadly pulmonary embolisms. There are growing worries that these and other health effects will be long-lasting.

Heart: The hyperinflammation of an immune response triggered by the virus can weaken heart muscles so much that even young people who had mild infections may be at risk for future heart failure, cardiac MRIs in Germany indicate. More immediately, some people have chest pain or feel like their hearts are racing as they recover from the infection. And college athletes are no exception

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Brain: People whose first COVID-19 symptom might have been losing their sense of smell and taste may find their anosmia persists. Headaches and dizziness are common. Mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD follow in the wake of infection, and the mental confusion called COVID-19 fog” leaves people searching for words, struggling with simple math, or simply trying to think.

Peripheral nervous system: In Italy, three COVID-19 patients experienced myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disorder that results in faulty communication between nerves and muscles. Doctors also worry about demyelination, in which the protective coating of nerve cells is attacked by the immune system, causing weakness, numbness, and tingling. In some cases it can spur psychosis and hallucinations. Some patients have Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease that interferes with nerve signals, leading to abnormal sensations, weakness, and sometimes paralysis.

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SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, affects more than just the lungs and airways. Here’s how this virus enters cells and the symptoms that can arise from infecting different parts of the body.

 Long-haulers do not feel like they’ve recovered

They have a name, a growing social media presence, and a problem. They are the long-haulers, people who have survived their COVID-19 infections but feel a long way from normal. We know they’re out there, but we don’t know how many, why their symptoms persist, and what happens next.


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