New Survey Identifies 98 Long-Lasting Covid Symptoms

Early research helps quantify coronavirus long-haulers’ experiences

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Photo: RuslanDashinsky/Getty Images

98 long-haul effects

A new survey of 1,567 long-haulers now shows just how wide-ranging these long-term symptoms are, stretching from sadness and blurry vision to diarrhea and joint pain. Here are the top 10 complaints and the percentage of people reporting each one (many long-haulers report several effects):

‘We expected to see a lot of long-term damage’

Studies have shown that Covid-19 infects much more than the respiratory system. By late spring, we knew the disease was affecting the body from head to toe, swelling the brain and compromising many of the body’s organs, and that it could be a blood vessel disease. A new study suggests Covid-19 can infect the thyroid gland, causing excess hormone release.

“It’s going to take months to a year or more to determine if there are any long-lasting, deleterious consequences of the infection.”

There are ongoing odd effects, too. Beyond enduring pain, hundreds of Covid-19 survivors are experiencing hair loss. “We are seeing patients who had Covid-19 two to three months ago and are now experiencing hair loss,” says Shilpi Khetarpal, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic. The demoralizing effect was made vivid recently in a Twitter video posted by the celebrity Alyssa Milano, herself recovering — in some ways — from the disease. Khetarpal says, however, that the effects should be temporary.

Answers coming, in months or years

Covid-19 would not be the only virus to cause chronic symptoms. Polio usually causes mild cold or flu-like symptoms. But in about 1% of cases, it damages the neurological system and can leave a person partially paralyzed. Epstein-Barr virus and the herpes virus are both suspected of causing chronic fatigue syndrome, but scientists aren’t sure.

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Explainer of things, science & health journalist, author, former editor-in-chief of LiveScience & Space dot com, seeker of a more just and equitable world.

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