Coronavirus Survivors Complain of Severe Side Effects

  • By Kim Chul-joong, Yang Ji-ho

    August 22, 2020 08:12

    Several recovering coronavirus patients both in Korea and abroad are complaining about severe aftereffects of the disease such as chronic pain, weakness and shortness of breath.

    Park Hyun

    Park Hyun (48), a visiting professor at Pusan National University, was declared fully recovered in March. But Park said Wednesday that he still suffers from various side effects such as diminished ability to focus, chest and abdominal pain, heartburn, discoloration of skin and chronic fatigue.

    He has been recording his bout with COVID-19 on Facebook.

    Park, who teaches at Ramon Llull University in Barcelona, became infected in late February after returning to his home town of Busan. He said he was healthy before contracting the virus, exercising four or five days a week.

    "I think there are still a lot of people who view coronavirus lightly without knowing that many people suffer side effects," he said.

    Dr. Kim Woo-joo at Korea University Guro Hospital said, "Coronavirus causes more than just a simple respiratory illness but causes infections throughout the body including the brain, circulatory system and stomach. Some patients overseas have reported loss of memory, a decreased ability to focus and, in severe cases, complications to the central nervous system."

    "The thing that we don't yet fully appreciate is what happens when you get infected and you get serious disease and you recover," the U.S.' embattled coronavirus czar Anthony Fauci told CNN recently. "What are the long-term durable negative effects of that infection?"

    People mingle at the open-air tables of restaurants in Seoul on Wednesday. /Newsis

    Some studies show even patients with mild symptoms or none can develop serious aftereffects. In a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 274 people who had mild or no symptoms, one in three people complained of side effects like mild fever, fatigue, increased heartrate, loss of memory or insomnia.

    Contrary to popular belief that younger patients suffer less, several recovering patients aged 18 to 34 also suffered such side effects.

    Dr. Uhm Joong-shik at Gachon University Gil Medical Center in Incheon said, "The virus spreads throughout your body and even healthy people who recover from the virus could suffer severe side effects, so preventive measures must be taken seriously."

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