Saturday, May 23, 2020

Inflamed brains, toe rashes, strokes: Why COVID-19's weirdest symptoms are only emerging now

These symptoms sound scary, but they should be expected. Here's what scientists know about the "new" effects of the coronavirus.

A coronavirus patient is transferred from a hospital that was full to capacity to another hospital by members of the medical staff of Klinicare in Brussels, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
Photograph by Francisco Seco, AP Photo

By Amy McKeever

An infection can inflict serious damage inside your body in many different ways, and COVID-19 seems to use just about all of them. The coronavirus primarily attacks the lungs, which can cause pneumonia or even respiratory failure, and in one of every five patients, it also leads to multiple organ failure.

Yet, as the pandemic continues to ravage the world, case reports have emerged of more unusual damage ranging from hundreds of tiny blood clots to strokes in young people, and even mysterious inflammatory responses, such as full-body rashes in children and the red lesions that have come to be known unofficially as COVID toe.

Although these conditions seem strange and scary, they have been seen in viral medicine even before the advent of COVID-19, and, to some degree, they are to be expected. Every human body is unique, so a disease that strikes millions of people will yield some oddities. What exactly is going on in these cases, and how common are they? Here’s what we know—and what the scientific community still needs to find out to treat these unusual cases.  Read more >>