Skip to Main Content

COVID Impacts

Detailed information and resources on the long-term health consequences of COVID-19 infection and the broad social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

Health Consequences of COVID-19 Infection

As we enter year four (4) of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still only at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to experiencing, documenting, and understanding the long-term health consequences that SARS-CoV-2 infection has on humans.  What scientists and clinicians do know is that the depth and breadth of consequences is expanding daily. The symptoms of many of these conditions can last for years, and many are believed to likely be life-long. Millions of Long COVID sufferers are unable to return to work, and the scale of disability caused by long-term consequences of COVID-19 infections will continue to contribute to labor shortages which will only increase with time and number of infections.

What scientists still do not understand is the connection between Long COVID and the long-term consequences of COVID-19 infections. Few people with long COVID demonstrate full recovery, with one study finding that 85% of patients who had symptoms 2 months after the initial infection still reported symptoms 1 year after symptom onset. Future prognosis is uncertain, although diagnoses of ME/CFS and dysautonomia are generally lifelong.

Beyond Long COVID

Some people, especially those who had severe COVID-19, experience multiorgan effects or autoimmune conditions with symptoms lasting weeks, months, or even years after COVID-19 illness. Multi-organ effects can involve many body systems, including the heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain.

As a result of these effects, people who have had COVID-19 may be more likely to develop new health conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, blood clots, or neurological conditions compared with people who have not had COVID-19. These new health conditions may appear months or even years after a COVID-19 infection, which can make the connection with and to COVID much more difficult. 

Doctors and scientists are still learning about what COVID infections can do to the body and the long-term health impacts it may have. Evidence is mounting that COVID-19 infections can cause a wide range of medical conditions and will likely be implicated in more as time goes on. 

Multi-Organ Damage & Dysfunction

COVID-19 infection has been implicated in causing damage and dysfunction to nearly every organ system in the body, including:

  • Nervous System (Brain/Spinal Cord and Nerves)
  • Cardiovascular System (Heart/Blood Vessels)
  • Pulmonary System (Lungs)
  • Gastrointestinal System (Digestion)
  • Genitourinary System (Urinary and reproductive organs)
  • Endocrine System (Metabolic Hormones and Associated Organs/Glands)
  • Hematological System (Blood and Bone Marrow)
  • Autonomic Nervous System (Systemic Self-Control)
  • immune System (Defenses)
  • Musculoskeletal (Bones and Muscles)
  • Cutaneous (Skin and Hair)

New-Onset Medical Conditions

This is just a short list of the types of medical conditions that COVID-19 infections increase the risk of developing after infection. These are all new-onset conditions in patients after COVID-19 infections, that have been documented in the medical literature.

  • Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
  • Stroke
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Heart Failure
  • Thromboembolisms [deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolisms (PE)]
  • Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
  • Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
  • Microvascular Blood Clotting (microclots)
  • Virus Reactivation (especially Epstein-Barr Virus and Human Herpesvirus 6)
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Erectile Dysfunction (EF)
  • Acute Kidney Disease (AKD)
  • Neuropathy
  • Tinnitus
  • Dementia
  • Mood Disorders
  • Renal Failure
  • Attention Disorders

Highlighted Literature