COVID-19 survivors face lifetime of disability – MacroBusiness

August 10, 2020
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The Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) vice-president Chris Moy says there is growing concern that COVID-19 may have long-term effects on internal organs. Heart disease, lung scarring, diabetes and damage to blood vessels are among the potential side-effects of COVID-19 that have been identified.

Australia’s acting chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, also stresses that young people should be mindful that they are at risk from COVID-19 and could potentially suffer a long-term disability if they contract the virus. Doctors warn that 20% to 30% of people who contracted the virus in March and April are still experiencing symptoms:

Scientists looking for a “signature” of COVID-19 in infected cases say it could reveal that even patients who have recovered develop disease risks they didn’t have before contracting the virus.

The research suggests that ­abnormalities detected in blood samples of infected patients are linked to diabetes, liver dysfunction, abnormal levels of cholesterol and higher risk of coronary heart disease.

The research, to be published shortly by the Australian National Phenome Centre, Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge in the UK and other agencies, may flag that COVID-19 infections could trigger a massive increase in the healthcare burden across the planet…

“We don’t know yet whether these long-term effects are permanent, but certainly there is evidence of long-term issues with lung damage and damage of the blood vessels around the body ­including the heart,” Professor Kelly said.

“This can be a very severe illness. Don’t take it lightly”…

In Australia, young people aged 20 to 29 are the most likely age group to contract the virus…

“We are very worried about the long-term effects of this coronavirus,” [Chris Moy] said. “The great fear in this is the unknown nature of this condition, which we haven’t really seen before. This is something that we could pay for later.”

I hope the herd immunity followers and the ‘let it rip’ brigade take note.

While the death rate from COVID-19 is relatively low, and mostly impacts the elderly, it’s the longer-term health impacts and costs on the community that are arguably of bigger concern.

The below BBC documentary, Surviving the Virus, examines the lasting effects and damage that COVID-19 can do, and makes for sober viewing.

Leith van Onselen
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