Sending everyone into social isolation, shutting down all major activities across the globe, COVID-19 is proving to be a bigger threat than mankind anticipated. COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, and the virus attacks the respiratory tracts causing symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. However, symptoms usually vary from individual to individual, keeping in mind their age and past medical records. These symptoms take around 5-6 days to appear, however, they may also take up to fourteen days.
Once the symptoms have appeared, recovery varies from person to person. Some people might recover without a ventilator, whereas others would need intensive care. It might even prove fatal for some.
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Up till now scientists and doctors were more focused on flattening the curve of exponentially increasing COVID-19 cases across the globe, but at the moment their attention is diverted by another peculiar phenomenon.
Shana is a nurse and also an athlete. She used to run almost 20 miles a week before being diagnosed by COVID-19. She did recover from the disease, but it took her longer to cure than her and her doctor’s expectation. Even when the most severe symptoms had disappeared, she kept experiences periodic fevers and muscle aches. At times she would feel optimistic that she is curing, and then the symptoms would start reappearing. Shana states that she felt helpless, she wanted to get back to her routine, but the periodic return of COVID-19 symptoms would not let her do so.
As more and more people reach the convalescent phase, more cases are being reported where the affectees are experiencing prolonged symptoms of the disease. Tony from Massachusetts happens to be another victim of these prolonged symptoms. He stated that it took him nearly 70 days to recover as the symptoms kept reappearing. This not only affected him physically but also mentally. He pointed out that he was having a difficult time finding the motivation to perform even the simplest tasks, such as dusting the house. Even after 70 days he believed that about 30% of the symptoms stayed. Previously doctors believed that it could take two to three weeks for COVID-19 to cure, however, it seems like the recovery takes way longer than that, and indeed varies from individual to individual. Several other cases were reported in which the affectees stated that they were unable to fold back to their old routines even after the recoveries.
These abnormal recovery patterns have rendered the scientists and doctors in a dilemma, as they struggle for answers. They have figured out a handful of reasons that can cause delayed recoveries at the tail end of the disease. Some of them believe that it could be a psychological effect, as this fatal disease takes a toll on the minds of the affected. If not, then chances are that chronic fatigue syndrome is involved. The tiredness and fatigue that the patients feel could be another defensive mechanism of the body. After fighting off this life-taking disease the body needs to recover and it causes fatigue so that one might rest and let the body do its job. Recovering from COVID-19 may result in other diseases taking over the body, such as pneumonia. Recovering from such disease will take weeks, dragging the overall recovery time. However, the exact reasons are still unknown.
No one truly knows the exact nature of this virus. Scientists all across the globe are busy searching for answers. But these answers come at a cost. It requires research teams to place people under observations for longer periods of time, and this is by no means cost-effective. COVID-19 is opening up mysteries after mysteries for us, and we believe it still might have a lot in store for us. Shana, for example, has even taken critical care regarding family planning after recovery, worrying about the affects this this virus could have on her pregnancy and unborn child.