Coronavirus survivors: People suffering symptoms months after beating virus

Its been played down by some as no worse than the flu, but theres growing evidence that coronavirus can have lingering long-term effects even for the young. Musician Samantha Demmler was diagnosed with coronavirus after coming back to Melbourne from the United States in March and is still suffering the consequences.
“Since having the virus, my main lingering effects have been a build up of fluid in my lungs, decreased sense of smell and memory loss,” she wrote on Facebook.
The 27-year-old told theHerald Sun she was still feeling “lethargic” and “exhausted”, however, the biggest worry was not knowing what would happen if she caught the virus again.
“For us people that have had the virus it’s even more upsetting that we have no clarity if we can get the virus again and what are the effects going to be long term,” Ms Demmler said.
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Ms Demmler’s experience has been echoed by others who have recovered from coronavirus.
Georgia Mooney, 31 an “otherwise healthy”, told 7.30 earlier this month that she has faced a long and “distressing” recovery from COVID-19.
Ms Mooney was diagnosed with coronavirus in March after returning from the UK and still has “daily chest pain and shortness of breath, and a feeling of a constricted chest”.
“I can’t exert myself too much. I can go for a walk every day but nothing beyond that,” she said, describing it as “scary”.
“If I knew then what I know now about the virus, I would be really scared.”
In a report for the BBC UK physician John Wright said that experts were still to discover why some suffered lingering effects while others didn’t.
“It is possible that the virus is lingering in reservoirs in their bodies and causing persistent symptoms, as we saw in survivors of ebola,” he wrote.
“Some of our patients are positive for the virus weeks after they first became infected but this is probably due to antigen-testing picking up residual fragments of the viral RNA. If so, these RNA fragments could be triggering a prolonged immune response that explains the persistent symptoms.”
More likely though, Dr Wright said, they’re experiencing a “prolonged and exaggerated immune response to the original infection, on top of the damage caused to their lungs and other organs”.
Some coronavirus patients have even tested positive to COVID-19 for a second time months after first being diagnosed.
Last month US woman Meredith McKee was diagnosed with coronavirus for the second time after first being diagnosed and ‘beating’ the virus in February.
Ms McKee revealed her second diagnosis on Facebook, sharing that it had “hit me like a tonne of bricks”.
She said her symptoms were “very different” this time around and she had been admitted to Dallas’ Texas Presbyterian hospital because of her high blood pressure.
With no traditional coronavirus symptoms Ms McKee didn’t think there was any chance she had the disease again – until staff at the hospital made her do another test.
“I would never have known had they not insisted on doing another COVID test,” she said, “and I was floored when it was positive.”
Ms McKee said doctors now believe she never fully recovered and the disease had simply gone dormant for several months.
One expert believes it’s possible that a small percentage of cases experience a “delayed immune response”.
“In some persons they begin to feel well again and signs and symptoms including fever decrease, but some then go on to develop respiratory distress and must be provided oxygen in hospital,” London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s infectious disease epidemiology professor David Heymann told the The Guardian.
“It appears to be a delayed immune response that is more serious in some persons and that reacts to remaining virus in various organs.”