From Washington state to Florida, from California to Massachusetts, facilities are opening up to help the growing number of Americans who suffer from Covid-19 symptoms many months after their diagnosis.
Just a little more than a year into the pandemic, it’s not clear how many Covid-19 patients go on to develop what’s called long-term Covid or long Covid. A recent study that included mostly people who had just mild cases found 30% were reporting symptoms as long as nine months after contracting the virus. Other studies have found a higher percentage.
And almost every day that doctors work with these Covid long haulers brings new revelations about the syndrome, which manifests itself in a vast array of symptoms in patients of all ages and of every health status pre-Covid.
“We now realize it goes way beyond the standard post viral syndrome,” said Dr. William Li, a physician of internal medicine and founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on the role of blood vessels in diseases.
“These symptoms can last for nine months. And we’re going on to a year now, we’re still seeing new symptoms unfold,” said Li, a vascular biologist who has been researching Covid for almost a year.
The more than 100 symptoms reported by patients include fatigue, headaches, brain fog and memory loss, gastrointestinal problems, muscle aches and heart palpitations. Some have even developed diabetes.
“I just am so amazed by what comes through on a daily basis,” said Dayna McCarthy, who treats Covid long haulers at New York’s Mount Sinai. She hears a long list of symptoms, including brain fog, rapid heart rates and irregular blood pressure.
Mount Sinai was the first in the country to open a clinic for Covid long haulers when it launched its Center for Post-COVID Care in May.
The center has seen more than 1,600 patients, and there’s a months-long wait for appointments because demand is so high.
Piedmont Pulmonary COVID Recovery Clinic in Atlanta opened in November and has already had about 600 referrals, said Dr. Jermaine Jackson, the medical director.
“We’re learning more and more about this virus from day to day,” he said. “I like to say we’re building the plane as we fly it, or we are putting on the wheels as we drive the car.
It’s not just people who were severely ill and hospitalized with the virus who are still suffering months after getting sick.
“New or prolonged symptoms may occur beyond four to six months among patients with Covid-19, regardless of severity of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the CDC’s Alfonso Hernandez-Romieu said during a webinar for physicians in January.
Physicians and therapists say they are treating people of all ages and those who were extremely healthy before they got Covid — including marathon runners, athletes and trainers. (Souce: cnn.com)