Top Doctor Talks Post COVID Syndrome and Long Term Virus Effects
When you need to know what's happening with the coronavirus, join KICKS 105.5 every Thursday morning. Dr. Rajeev Fernando answers your COVID-19 questions.
Dr. Rajeev Fernando is one of New York's Top Infectious Disease Specialists and this week, he addresses post COVID syndrome and the long-term effects.
I heard an Australian Doctor say that he fears COVID-19 and its variants will be a major health problem for the world for many more months or even years to come. In many parts of the world, the vaccine roll out hasn't even begun, so I fear we have a terribly long way to go. Do you also see this type of scenario?
"Yes, absolutely, this is what we call the post COVID syndrome, which means that people who actually had the virus and have recovered, they still have lingering symptoms. Many of them will have shortness of breath forever, about 40 percent of the patients that I see have neuro psychiatric manifestations, it's also know as COVID fog. Many people are going to have this for years to come. In fact, we're already seeing as many as 9 million people with this COVID syndrome. This is here to stay even after you survive COVID-19, these people will have long standing side effects and that's very concerning."
Janet in Ridgefield wants to know what you can do if you can't get your second dose of the vaccine, will I have enough protection from just one shot?
"I feel that when you get your first vaccine, they should on the spot give you a date for your follow up vaccine. If that hasn't happened, I urge you to contact them again and set up your second dose. We have seen many people who are concerned about the side effects of the second dose either put it off, or don't go back for the second vaccine, but everyone should make sure they get their two doses if it's the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and with the Johnson and Johnson it's only one shot."
What about people that already had COVID-19? I've heard some experts say that if you've had the virus, you only need one vaccine, is this true?
"Absolutely not. At this point, we don't have any data to suggest that, but having the infection gives you a good deal of antibodies. However, the duration of these antibodies after a natural infection is variable. Some people may have antibodies detected after 9 months, some people may only have them for two months, so we don't know enough about that yet. What we do know from the data is that MRNA vaccines have at least 6 month immunity protection."
John is in Pawling and is a restaurant owner. He's been following all the CDC guidelines, but now some experts are blaming the lifting of restrictions on restaurants as the reason we're seeing a recent spike in cases. He wants to know if you agree or disagree with this theory?
Great question John. I recommend keeping your restaurant open with the guidelines, but using and employing common sense. That's the one thing the CDC doesn't put in their guidelines, but it is critical because situations arise that no one can prepare for. If you see something you're concerned about, using common sense will probably be the answer. I'm actually in agreement with opening up restaurants right now, the guidelines are very clear, we're learning everyday. We've just recently learned that the virus doesn't stay on surfaces for as long as we originally thought. We've been using all kinds of disinfectants for months and months, now it doesn't look like that's as necessary as we thought. So as we get more and more data, and as time goes by, we're finding out more and more about the virus, so just stay tuned."