Long-term Covid-19 symptoms should be taken seriously as they could be an issue as more people contract the virus, the top US infectious disease expert says.
"This is a real phenomenon. I myself am personally dealing and helping a number of people who have a post-acute Covid-19 syndrome," Dr. Anthony Fauci told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Friday. "They are virologically okay -- the virus is no longer identified in them, but they have persistence of symptoms that can be debilitating."
Fauci said some of the symptoms his patients have include extreme fatigue, muscle aches, temperature dysregulation and "brain fog," where it's difficult for them to focus or concentrate.
"We take it very seriously for the simple reason that even if a small fraction, and it appears to be more than just a small fraction, of people have persistent symptoms, when you look at the 24-25 million people in the United States who have been infected ... and globally when you have approaching 100 million people having been infected, this could be something that really could be an issue," Fauci said.
Some context: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain and chest pain as the most commonly reported long-term symptoms. Others, such as "brain fog," depression and headache, are also reported among coronavirus long-haulers.
"While most persons with Covid-19 recover and return to normal health, some patients can have symptoms that can last for weeks or even months after recovery from acute illness. Even people who are not hospitalized and who have mild illness can experience persistent or late symptoms," the US CDC says.