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Dr. Fauci says plenty of people suffer from ‘post-acute COVID-19 syndrome.’ What does that mean?

Dr. Anthony Fauci has a new warning about what could come for those who survive COVID-19

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens as he speaks with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens as he speaks with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington.
Alex Brandon, Associated Press

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said that COVID-19 survivors oftentimes have “post-acute COVID-19 syndrome,” which includes COVID-19 symptoms that last long after infections.

What happened?

Fauci, who appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC back on Jan. 22, was asked about people who suffer from long-haul COVID-19 symptoms.

Maddow asked:

“Dr. Fauci, what do you tell people who are dealing with a long-term symptom from COVID? People who are technically recovered but they still have impairment months later. Some of the stuff for some people is very severe. Months after they have, you know, technically recovered from the disease, they’re still not able to work. People have long-term and very serious consequences.”

Fauci replied:

“This is a real phenomenon. I, myself, personally, am dealing and helping a number of people who have a post-acute COVID-19 syndrome just as you accurately described. They are virologically okay. The virus is no longer identified in them, but they have persistence of symptoms that can be debilitating — extreme fatigue, muscle aches, temperature disregulation.”

Fauci said on “Maddow” that some of the symptoms include brain fog, where it’s hard to concentrate or focus, which I previously wrote about for the Deseret News.

  • “It can be really quite disturbing,” he said.

Fauci told MSNBC it’s important for researchers to take the problem seriously given how many COVID-19 cases there are across the world.

“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 million, 25 million people in the United States who have been infected, albeit not all of them had had any symptoms, but even those who have symptoms and globally, when you have approaching 100 million people having been infected, this can be something that really could be an issue. And that’s the reason why we’re taking it very seriously.”

Recovery remains hard

Utah residents who have suffered COVID-19 symptoms for the long-term have struggled to recover, as the Deseret News reported.

  • In fact, about 10% to 25% of COVID-19 survivors struggle with long-term symptoms — some months after a diagnosis, according to the Deseret News.