This Is Why Dr. Fauci Is Worried About Patients With Less Severe COVID

Even COVID patients who aren't hospitalized may experience long-term symptoms.

Researchers and the public at large have learned a lot about COVID-19 since the coronavirus pandemic began. One of the biggest early misconceptions that has since been debunked is that young people can't become seriously ill from the virus. In fact, even though COVID is more likely to cause deadly complications in older individuals, it can afflict people of any age. And now Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has expressed his concerns about young people who contract coronavirus that isn't severe enough for them to be hospitalized: These patients could be suffering from long-term symptoms months down the line.

"In individuals who are young and otherwise healthy, who don't require hospitalization but do get sick and symptomatic enough to be in bed for a week or two or three and then get better, they clear the virus—they have residual symptoms for weeks and sometimes months," Fauci said at an American Society for Microbiology briefing, as reported by CNN.

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Doctors are still discovering the long-lasting symptoms and complications of a coronavirus infection. Long-haul COVID patients have reported fatigue, muscle aches, neurological effects, and countless other symptoms months after contracting the virus. According to Fauci, the situation could get even worse. As he said at the briefing, many of these patients "have a substantially high proportion of cardiovascular abnormalities," which suggests the potential for worsening heart problems down the line.

"These are people that supposedly recovered from COVID-19," Fauci noted. And they are often the young people who may have believed they were not at significant risk for a coronavirus infection, or at least not for these potentially life-altering complications.

Black woman in pain clutching stomach

Given the developing studies about the havoc coronavirus can wreak on the human body, even in patients who do not appear to be deathly ill, Fauci stressed the importance of making sure everyone knows that young people need to be as concerned about getting sick as anyone else. Just because they may be less likely to be hospitalized does not mean they will be able to avoid the long-term symptoms that have plagued so many COVID patients.

"I'll guarantee you if we have this conversation again, six months to a year from now, we'll be reviewing the literature about talking about the long-term deleterious effects of non-hospitalized patients," Fauci said. And for some of the more persistent coronavirus complications, discover The 98 Longest Lasting COVID Symptoms You Need to Know About.

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