NORFOLK, Va. - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than five million Americans have contracted COVID-19. While most people recover and don't require hospitalization, doctors are reporting patients with long lasting symptoms of the virus.
News 3 spoke to an infectious disease expert from Eastern Virginia Medical School, Dr. Edward Oldfield, about this phenomenon. He says even patients with mild cases of the virus at the onset are seeing long-term effects of the illness.
"There are studies at least at 60 days out when over half the people still have symptoms. There are psychiatric symptoms, depression, very significant side effects - almost like the immune system turns on and doesn't go back to normal," he explained.
Dr. Oldfield says that this is something that will need to be studied as researchers obtain more data on the virus.
"Fatigue is the number one [side effect]. Shortness of breath - we call that dyspnea, when they try to do any exertion, cough, those are the main ones. There's also a lot of people that have complained of brain fog where they simply can't concentrate," he said.
Dr. Oldfield says there aren't long term studies to show how long these symptoms would last, but the good news is that the symptoms should eventually go away.