We may be past the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, but the crisis is still far from over. And for many who contracted COVID-19 in the height of its spread, it seems the virus has left some lasting health effects.
There's a lot that's still unknown about coronavirus, and one of those things is exactly how it can impact sufferers in the long term. According to data gathered by the UK's COVID Symptom Study, most people recover from COVID-19 within two weeks. However, the data they released in June suggests that one in ten people may still have symptoms after three weeks, and some may suffer for months.
For the people who do suffer for longer, it seems the symptoms they report are mixed. Over on Twitter, a number of people have taken to the social network to share their differing experiences. Some have noted intense fatigue still dogging them, while others have never regained their loss of smell. Some sufferers have also experienced mental health issues as a result. The way the virus manifests is obviously different in each person, but with such little firm information on the nature of COVID-19, it's interesting to see how different people continue to be affected in the weeks and months after their official diagnosis.
Increased heart rate
Twitter user Anthony Smith shared his experience of an elevated heart rate, months after experiencing a "mild" case of the virus. "I had a mild case of COVID a few months ago, and I just wanted to join the chorus of people sharing that my resting heart rate averaged in the low 80s pre-COVID and now it sort of hovers at just above 100 bpm," he shared, adding: "Sometimes I'll wake up in the middle of the night with 110 or 120."
I had a mild case of COVID a few months ago, and I just wanted to join the chorus of people sharing that my resting heart rate averaged in the low 80s pre-COVID and now it sort of hovers at just above 100 bpm. sometimes i'll wake up in the middle of the night with 110 or 120.— Anthony Smith (@AnthonyBLSmith) July 8, 2020
Tweeter Callum O'Dwyer took to the social network to share how drained he has continued to feel for the past three months since contracting coronavirus. "I’m 28 years old. I caught COVID and have spent half my waking hours lying down for the last 3 months," he wrote, adding that he "can’t walk more than 5 minutes without getting extremely out of breath." Callum used his tweet as a reminder that being young certainly doesn't make you invincible to the bug and the toll it can take.
I’m 28 years old. I caught Covid and have spent half my waking hours lying down for the last 3 months, and can’t walk more than 5 minutes without getting extremely out of breath.— Callum O'Dwyer (@callumjodwyer) July 4, 2020
Take caution but you’re not bloody immune if you’re young. https://t.co/HXwph8rcm7
Actor Idris Elba was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, but experienced no symptoms. It was only in the aftermath of contracting the virus that he realised he was suffering with his mental health. Speaking to the Radio Times recently, he shared the extent of the prolonged psychological effects.
"I was asymptomatic so I didn't get the major symptoms everyone else got. Mentally, it hit me very bad, because a lot was unknown about it," he said. "I felt very compelled to speak about it, just because it was such an unknown. So the mental impact of that on both myself and my wife was pretty traumatic. I needed the lockdown to try to get over it. And it turns out the world actually probably needed the lockdown, too."
Sense of smell
Loss of smell and taste were later additions to the list of key coronavirus symptoms, but it seems they continue to be prominent ones. And what many people have noticed is how long it's taking to regain the senses. Over on Twitter, user @cecilianp1zza shared recently that, after having coronavirus back in March, she is still suffering from a lack of ability to smell. "Four months later I still can’t smell most things," she wrote, urging people to wear a mask.
just tested positive for coronavirus antibodies confirming I had it in March. lucky for me my symptoms weren’t too severe, just chills and shortness of breath. But 4 months later I still can’t smell most things… #wearyourmask— just a long island girl (@cecilianp1zza) July 15, 2020
A weakened immune system
After catching COVID-19 back in March, Twitter user @surfacingwater shared how the illness has affected her so long down the line. Explaining that she has a chest infection currently, she pointed out that she is "not prone to respiratory illness."
Despite being in her thirties and in "reasonably good health" the Twitter user shared how coronavirus has weakened her immune system and means she falls ill more frequently now. "Much like before I sleep propped up to breathe normally," @surfacingwater wrote on social media. "I also still go into coughing fits that go on and on for ages. I have been tested for COVID again which was negative, it is a chest infection. I still can't go out for obvious reasons. This is shit and you should just wear the mask," she said.
I posted this back when I had coronavirus; I now have a chest infection that I'm on antibiotics for. I'm not prone to respiratory illness. I am in my thirties & whilst I have endometriosis am in reasonably good health. Much like before I sleep propped up to breathe normally. 1/2 https://t.co/UYAd3XmLsh— deviant lesbian ⚢🏳️🌈 (@surfacingwater) July 15, 2020
Note: These are personal experiences of coronavirus, and more research needs to be done to scientifically understand the scope of the long-term effects.
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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