Scientists looking into the long-term impacts of contracting COVID-19

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Rio Grande Valley everyday.

Right now, those fighting the virus are worried about immediately feeling better but what are the lasting effects?

“I was like gasping for air like chocking for it,” said Virginia Fernandez.

Since catching the virus in mid-June, Fernandez life hasn’t been the same.

“I have a cough. It takes forever to go away. I get shortness of breath very easily. I get tired very easily. I have wheezing in my chest,” she said.

She was recently tested again and the results came back negative, but she still suffers from the symptoms.

Dr. Jose Campo Maldonado is an infectious disease specialist and works at UTRGV.

He said data is still too early to know the long-term effects of COVID-19.

“For our patients, about 64 percent goes back to baseline for inpatient about 39 percent after a couple of weeks that means there are people who are, stay sick. So, we still have to learn a lot more,” he said. “We are concerned about complications particularly for the lungs in the long term so I’ll be interested to see how data emerges do we have permanent lung sequala in some or all patients.”

It’s the fear of the unknown that worries Fernandez.

“Am I not going to be able to return to my normal lifestyle of being able to exercise? Am I not going to be able to keep up with my husband and my kids and because I’m going to be so out of breath so short of breath?”

Until doctors fully understand the virus, they urge you to practice social distancing and wear a mask.

Dr. Maldonado said more data about the long-term severity of COVID-19 will likely take years to fully understand.

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