• Sabrina Espinoza

The Harmful Long-Term Effects of Covid-19 & Why They Matter

Although COVID-19 has been spreading throughout the US since January, its long-term effects are still unknown. However, people who contracted the disease have reported feelings of heavy fatigue and trouble breathing as long as weeks after. Why would these facts matter exactly? Well, the potential for coronavirus to have harmful, long-lasting effects shows that surviving the disease doesn’t mean an easy recovery- a fact us younger people need to consider when dismissing the virus as unable to harm our health.

The dangerous belief that coronavirus doesn’t have a significant impact on younger people can cause young adults and teens to ignore social distancing measures and forgo masks. This behavior could be contributing to the rising number of cases from people aged 5-49, which make up about 61.1% of the total as of August (suggesting that younger citizens are catching the disease more often than older citizens). If some young adults and teens continue to gather in large groups or travel to crowded places with the belief that they’re ‘immune’, they will only increase their chance of contracting the virus and decrease the chance of the US overcoming it.

In fact, the idea that the disease won’t majorly impact a young person is largely untrue- coronavirus seems to affect people in different ways, regardless of their age. While some people might only have a minor cough or short fever, others might experience symptoms like constant fatigue for up to eight weeks. Another alarming, possible side-effect of the virus is lung, heart, and kidney damage. According to BBC, some coronavirus patients in Scotland hospitals were experiencing injuries to their kidneys and required dialysis, the removal of toxins from the blood (a function that their kidneys could no longer do effectively). Other reported long-term effects include difficulty thinking and muscle aches.

Although these long-lasting symptoms are mainly found in older people with underlying health conditions, an increasing number of young and healthy individuals are experiencing them as well. These findings suggest that being of a young age does not guarantee protection from COVID-19 and its potential effects.

To decrease the number of coronavirus cases in the US and flatten the curve, we need to wear masks, limit our gatherings, and maintain a distance from others of at least six feet. It’s easy to say that the disease won’t harm us because of our young age, but the randomness of who experiences harmful, persistent symptoms contradicts this sentiment. Even if the disease couldn’t affect us at all, we would still be able to spread it to more vulnerable people, like our parents or grandparents.

Our youth shouldn’t allow us to ignore social distancing guidelines. The chances of the US recovering from COVID-19 and the lives of thousands of people depend on every citizen, both young and old.