COVID-19 and Brain Damage

The novel Coronavirus, better known as Covid-19, has proved itself to be the biggest health crisis that mankind has seen in nearly a century. While the H1N1 influenza outbreak of 2009 was also a pandemic, it wasn’t as all-pervasive and life-disrupting as Covid-19 is, atleast to many parts of the world. Covid-19 is a disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS CoV-2 virus) which primarily attacks the lungs. It is largely spread from infected persons and leads to situations of community transmissions which can cause uncontrolled spreading of the infection and cause a huge number of deaths. This is currently a global health crisis and may change every aspect of the world as we know it.

The symptoms of the infection include fever, dry cough, and breathing difficulties. The infection is not usually fatal, although extra care should be taken by those with underlying health conditions, and it can be treated using medications since we do not have a vaccine yet. Much vigilance and care are taken regarding this and recovery rates are encouraging. However, new studies are starting to show that the virus does more than just affect the lungs. Even when the patient has recovered and tests negative for the COVID-19 test, the disease seems to affect the individual’s brain. It is not just the respiratory system that is attacked by the virus. The researchers at University College London (UCL) report that many COVID patients show conditions of a rare brain inflammatory condition usually only seen in children. Increase dizziness, weakness, and headaches among others are also now considered symptoms of the infection and they are all neurological. It can even cause delirium and long-lasting brain damage, studies say. The Hindu reports that UCL studies show “43 cases of patients with COVID-19 who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage or other serious brain effects”.

This is a cause of great concern for neurologists, medical professionals, and the governments of the world since it indicates that there can be a whole wave of neurological disorders and problems arising from this damage. It can even lead to an unprecedented medical crisis wherein newer ways of treatment have to be devised. The increasing number of studies that show such concomitant complications caused by the novel coronavirus is a warning that this disease has far-reaching effects, the extent, and scale of which we might not have yet understood. This is to be taken seriously by the world governments seeing how this can escalate demands on healthcare as well at a time when it is already under high pressure. It should also serve as a warning to the citizens of the world to not take this disease lightly and to follow government regulations. While one can always say that it is easy to recover from the disease and thereby it is okay to risk it, we should keep in mind that such findings only serve to prove that this infection can cause complications in our body that will not be cured when the infection is. Utmost caution and care should be taken in this situation to ensure that we keep our own selves and those around us safe. It is our duty and responsibility to be wise, alert and cautious at this time.

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