Long-haul Covid symptoms should be a ‘wake-up call’ for young people, Texas Children’s doctor says

About 10 to 30% of all Covid patients will suffer from long-haul symptoms, according to the latest research from Mt. Sinai’s Center for Post-Covid Care. Those numbers should be a “wake-up call” for young people and motivate them to avoid infection, Dr. Peter Hotez of Texas Children’s Hospital said on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.”

Patients with post acute Covid syndrome typically experience serious fatigue, shortness of breath, digestive issues, “brain fog” and a racing heart. Some can even develop type 1 diabetes after a Covid infection, Dr. Hotez said. Endocrinologists are still trying to understand exactly why this occurs.

Another question researchers can’t answer yet is whether long-haul symptoms will stay with Covid patients for the rest of their lives. Millions of Americans have already been infected, Hotez noted, and those who had mild symptoms and were able to stay home to recover are most likely to struggle later with post acute Covid syndrome, early research suggests.

Of all the lingering effects of Covid, Hotez told Smith, “the ones that worry me especially are the cognitive deficits. We call it ‘brain fog’ which kind of makes it sound like it’s not that serious but it is. You know people have terrible trouble concentrating and this is why it’s been so devastating because it’s difficult for people to go back to work.”

Post-acute Covid syndrome will have a major impact on the economy, and on the healthcare system, Hotez said. Covid has a “heavy psychiatric burden” including for people who weren’t infected. They can suffer “post traumatic stress” from losing a loved one, their livelihood, or just dealing with pandemic living conditions.

“As awful as the deaths are, and as heartbreaking as the deaths are, that is going to be only one of many pieces of Covid-19 that will be with us. It’s also a wake-up call for young people,” Hotez said.

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