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How Long Can I Expect a COVID-19 Illness to Last? | Health News

How long can I expect a COVID-19 illness to last?

It depends. Most coronavirus patients have mild to moderate illness and recover quickly. Older, sicker patients tend to take longer to recover. That includes those who are obese, or have high blood pressure and other chronic diseases.

The World Health Organization says recovery typically takes two to six weeks. One U.S. study found that around 20% of non-hospitalized individuals ages 18 to 34 still had symptoms at least two weeks after becoming ill. The same was true for nearly half of people age 50 and older.

Among those sick enough to be hospitalized, a study in Italy found 87% were still experiencing symptoms two months after getting sick. Lingering symptoms included fatigue and shortness of breath.

Dr. Khalilah Gates, a Chicago lung specialist, said many of her hospitalized COVID-19 patients still have coughing episodes, breathing difficulties and fatigue three to four months after infection.

She said it’s hard to predict exactly when COVID-19 patients will return to feeling well.

“The unsettling part of all this is we don’t have all the answers,” said Gates, an assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

It’s also hard to predict which patients will develop complications after their initial illness subsides.

COVID-19 can affect nearly every organ, and long-term complications can include heart inflammation, decreased kidney function, fuzzy thinking, anxiety and depression.

It is unclear whether the virus itself or the inflammation it can cause leads to these lingering problems, said Dr. Jay Varkey, an Emory University infectious diseases specialist.

“Once you get over the acute illness, it’s not necessarily over,” he said.

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: [email protected]

Read previous Viral Questions:

Am I immune to the coronavirus if I’ve already had it?

Can the coronavirus travel more than 6 feet in the air?

Does the coronavirus spread easily among children?

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Expect 20,000 more coronavirus deaths by the end of the month, former CDC director says

Another 20,000 Covid-19 deaths by the end of the month are “inevitable,” according to a former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



a man standing in front of a building: Medical staff wearing full PPE push a stretcher with a deceased patient to a car outside of the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on June 30, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care wards to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)


© Go Nakamura/Getty Images
Medical staff wearing full PPE push a stretcher with a deceased patient to a car outside of the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on June 30, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care wards to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

The estimate is based on the number of infections “that have already occurred,” Dr. Tom Frieden said Saturday, during CNN’s “Coronavirus: Facts and Fears” town hall.

The United States reported 57,420 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest number of new daily cases since August.

“Anytime we ignore, minimize or underestimate this virus, we do so at our peril and the peril of people whose lives depend on us,” Frieden said.

More than 7.7 million people have been infected with the virus in the US and 214,370 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

By February, the coronavirus death toll in the US could double to about 400,000, a model from the from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine projected. Daily deaths will peak at about 23,000 in mid-January, the model predicted.

Projections aren’t set in stone, however, and what the public does can have a big impact, another former CDC director, Dr. Richard Besser, said.

Following guidance like wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and investigating cases means “we can have a very different trajectory and we can get this under control,” he said.

Impacts could be much greater than officials think

Officials are tracking coronavirus infections and deaths, but Frieden said those numbers may be too small.

The true number of coronavirus deaths in the United States is well over a quarter million, Frieden said Saturday.

Part of the problem in determining the true impact is how deaths are listed on death certificates, especially for older patients who are more likely to have other health problems along with a coronavirus infection. Often the other health condition is listed as the cause of death, he said.

“If you die from cancer, and you also have diabetes, you still died from cancer,” Frieden explained. “If you died from Covid, and you also had diabetes, you died from Covid.”

The number of infections is likely closer to 40 million people, he said.

“You may not get sick at all from this, but you may spread it to someone who then dies, or spreads it to someone else who dies,” he said. “That’s why we all have to recognize that we’re in this together. There’s only one enemy, and that’s the virus.”

Regaining trust in vaccines and health agencies

While researchers are racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine, health experts said Saturday that

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how it happened and what to expect

Video: GMB’s Dr Hillary issues stark warning over catching flu and coronavirus at the same time (Manchester Evening News)

GMB’s Dr Hillary issues stark warning over catching flu and coronavirus at the same time

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a person standing in front of a crowd: Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Why is Trump at risk?



a person standing in front of a crowd: New Yorkers pray for President Donald Trump after he was diagnosed with Covid-19.


© Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters
New Yorkers pray for President Donald Trump after he was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Three key factors put Trump at a high risk of suffering severe respiratory problems in the wake of his Covid-19 infection. Firstly, he weighs more than 17 stone. He is obese and that makes him 74% more likely to end up in an intensive care unit than a patient of a healthy weight. At the same time, he is 48% more likely to die. A second factor is his age: Trump is 74 and in an age bracket that suggests he is five times more likely to need hospital treatment than an 18 to 29-year-old – and 90 times more likely to die. And finally, he is male. Research suggests that men appear to be twice as likely to die from the disease as women.

What treatment is he getting?

Reports indicate that Trump has been given two drugs: remdesivir and REGN-COV2. However, these medicines have still not completed full clinical trials and it is unclear how effective they are going to be in helping the president recover. Other medicines being administered to Trump include vitamin D, an antacid called famotidine, melatonin and aspirin. These are intended to alleviate his fever.

What are the early symptoms of Covid-19?

Covid-19 can cause a dry, racking cough, high temperature and loss of sense of smell. These symptoms are sometimes mild but in other cases patients can be left feeling fatigued, drowsy and confused. Itchy eyes, runny nose and upset stomachs are also experienced during the first days of infection.

When will he enter the most dangerous period of the infection?

According to Trump’s doctors, the president is displaying only mild symptoms. The danger period will come in the second week of his infection, when inflammatory reactions are typically triggered by the virus, causing severe respiratory problems – typically in those who are obese, male and old. Those who suffer particularly badly are put on ventilators to help them breathe. When the pandemic first struck, the majority of patients on ventilators died. However, survival rates have improved considerably since then.

Where is Trump being treated?

Trump has been taken to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, where previous US presidents and vice-presidents have been routinely treated for various ailments over the decades. The centre has a dedicated presidential office suite that includes a sitting room and a conference room. It is widely considered to be one of the most advanced hospitals in the US.

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