Coronavirus deaths are past 410,000 in America, and left uncounted are the thousands who have Long COVID, or what Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, calls “post-acute COVID 19 syndrome.” The symptoms are “very severe months after they have technically recovered from the disease,” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said to him the other day. “They’re still not able to work. People have long-term and very serious consequences.” “This is a real phenomenon,” Fauci added. “I, myself, presently, am dealing and helping a number of people who have a post acute COVID 19 syndrome—they are virologically okay. The virus is no longer identified in them, but they have a persistence of symptoms that can be debilitating.” Read on to learn more about the symptoms to see if you have them—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
Fauci told Maddow you might suffer “extreme fatigue” and has been mentioning this for a while now. “You don’t want to be scaring people and alarming them, but they really should know that we don’t know what the long-term consequences are, even when it looks like a routine infection,” Dr. Fauci told Medscape in July. “We better be careful. Even after you clear the virus, there are postviral symptoms. I know, because I follow on the phone a lot of people who call me up and talk about their course. And it’s extraordinary how many people have a postviral syndrome that’s very strikingly similar to myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. They just don’t get back to normal energy or normal feeling of good health.” One hallmark symptom of ME/CFS is post-exertional malaise, a crashing after exertion.
Another key symptom of Long COVID—and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome—is muscle aches and pains, or myalgia. These can present themselves anywhere—your torso, your back, your legs—and in some cases, like costochondritis, can feel like a heart attack (but isn’t).
You may have “Temperature dysregulation,” says Fauci, and World Neurology, from the World Federation of Neurology, mentions it, too. “Most of these patients were in excellent health prior to getting infected with SARS-CoV-2,” they say. “They all had myriad symptoms during the acute phase; however, as the fever and respiratory symptoms improved, they are left with persistent systemic symptoms, some of which are gradually improving, but not all are following that course.”
“Some of them even have situations with what they call brain fog,” Dr. Fauci told Maddow, “where it’s very difficult to them to focus or to concentrate, can be really quite disturbing. We are doing a lot on that.”
Tell your medical professional if you have any of those symptoms. Although doctors still don’t know how to cure it, they can help treat the symptoms. Dr. Fauci says the medical community is studying Long COVID intensely. “We’re going to make a major investment in research dollars to try and find out the full extent of this,” he told Maddow. “Any hints towards what the underlying mechanisms are, what we can do to treat it. We take it very seriously for the simple reason that even if a small fraction and it appears to be more than just a small fraction of people have persistent symptoms—when you look at the 24, 25 million people in the United States, who’ve been infected, albeit not all of them have had any symptoms, but even those who has symptoms and globally, when you have approaching a hundred million people having been infected, this could be something that really could be an issue. And that’s the reason why we’re taking it very seriously.” As should you—so to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.