TAMPA, Fla. — The CDC is working to learn more about long haul COVID-19 and if the long-term symptoms eventually resolve.
“My heart goes out to anyone infected with COVID, but especially this group of patients that are not getting better,” said Dr. John Sinnott, Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of South Florida and Epidemiologist at Tampa General Hospital.
Some people who contract the virus can have symptoms for weeks and even months after they test negative.
Researchers are learning some of the most common long-term symptoms are fatigue, joint pain, shortness of breath, and brain fog.
“This is significant. Whether it’s driving, or shopping, or whatever, this is a real problem. These are called executive functions, decision making functions, and if these are impaired this is going to be a problem with patients,” said Sinnott.
It’s unclear how long it lasts.
Sinnott says there are some people who got infected with COVID-19 last year and still have long-term symptoms, while there are others whose symptoms went away after a few weeks.
Experts say this version of the virus can happen to anyone who has been infected, even if they have no symptoms.
“They can have a very mild illness but be crippled with this long haul COVID, or they could spend a month in the ICU and get it,” said Sinnott.
He says women, patients who had multiple symptoms of the virus early, and people with blood clotting issues seem to have a higher chance of getting long COVID.
Even if you’re vaccinated, experts say it’s still possible you could contract the virus with little to no symptoms and get long COVID.
“We think that it reduces the amount of long haul disease, but that is not proven,” said Sinnott.
He says there have been some cases where people with long-term COVID-19 have gotten better after getting vaccinated.
“We don’t know what to make of that,” said Sinnott.
The CDC says more research is needed to determine if that’s true and how the vaccine affects long COVID.
Right now, they’re working on multi-year studies to investigate these lasting effects and how to treat them.