Dr. Fauci Just Said This Is the Tell-Tale Sign You Have Long COVID

The top infectious disease expert also says symptoms can last long after an initial infection.

Doctors now know that the novel coronavirus can affect the bodies of those it infects in many different ways. And while the range and severity of acute COVID symptoms can differ from person to person, the extended period of sickness that can persist for months after an infection has been difficult to understand fully—especially when it comes to knowing whether or not you're suffering from it. Now, White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, says new research has shown that at least one symptom can be a tell-tale sign that you may have "long COVID."

During a press briefing held by the White House's COVID-19 response team on Feb. 24, Fauci was tasked with outlining a new area of focus for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concerning "long COVID," which he said is now being referred to as "post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection" (PASC). Sharing new research, which came from a study conducted by the University of Washington that was recently published in JAMA Network Open, he explained that "persistent symptoms were reported by one-third of outpatients with mild disease."

However, there was one symptom that was particularly prevalent. Read on to find out what it is, and for more warning signs you might not have noticed, If You're Over 65, You Could Be Missing This COVID Symptom, Study Says.


Woman with a protective face mask to avoid infectious diseases, looking tired while traveling by bus
valentinrussanov / iStock

"Fatigue was the most common reported symptom," said Fauci, noting that this symptom was reported by 13.6 percent of patients in the University of Washington study. "And actually, new symptoms sometimes arise well after the time of infection, or they evolve over time and they may persist…for months and can range from mildly annoying to actually quite incapacitating. The magnitude of the problem is not yet fully known."

Fauci added that the research had other "alarming" findings, telling reporters that "approximately 30 percent of the patients [in the study] reported persistent symptoms for as long as nine months after illness."

Of course, fatigue is hardly the only symptom that may persist post-COVID. Read on to discover the other most commonly reported symptoms among those suffering from PASC, and for more information from the top infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci Says These Are the COVID Symptoms That Don't Go Away.

Loss of sense of smell or taste


By now, the loss of smell or taste—medically known as anosmia and ageusia, respectively—has become an infamous symptom among COVID patients. However, it's not just an active infection that presents with these symptoms—researchers have noted how long the symptom can persist after the virus clears. In the case of the University of Washington study, 13.6 percent of participants reported this symptom. And for more on when we might be able to finally get back to normal, This Is When the COVID Pandemic Will Be Completely Over, Experts Say.

Trouble breathing

man having difficulty breathing and holding his chest

COVID may have dire effects on the entire body, but it is first and foremost a respiratory infection. According to the study's results, roughly 10 percent of COVID patients reported having issues with breathing or persistent shortness of breath during their follow-up. And for the latest COVID news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Muscle or body aches

Man suffering from muscle aches and a headache.

Body and muscle aches were also among the most common symptoms reported among study participants. Results show that an estimated 10 percent of patients were still experiencing these aches and pains months after their initial infection had cleared. And for symptoms you might expect after you get immunized, Dr. Fauci Said He Had Pain in These 2 Places After the COVID Vaccine.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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