It has been non-stop discovery for medical professionals battling COVID-19. That can be hard to see when we’re living in the here-and-now. But it’s true. With less than one year of cases and data, our understanding of the pandemic is growing and changing daily. New treatments and complications are emerging with every case, adding to our global knowledge and unlocking opportunities for greater innovation.
The world is focused on the short term – flattening the curve, treating our sick and discovering a vaccine. But there is more to this virus than the short term. To understand what we know about the virus’ long-term effects, we spoke with Christian Bime, MD, medical director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Banner – University Medical Center in Tucson. “We are learning something new every day,” said Dr. Bime. “Our understanding of COVID-19’s long term effects will depend greatly on ongoing studies over the next decades.”
While we may still not know the long-term effects, we are able to make a few educated inferences about how COVID-19’s unique characteristics could affect lifelong lung health. Let’s start with what we know about the short-term, acute, effects.