As of Wednesday (March 25), 422,966 people are infected with the novel coronavirus. A total of 18,906 people have died of the deadly disease. The good news amid the gloom is that a total of 109,143 people have fully recovered from the novel disease. But there's a catch. According to a study by Hong Kong's Hospital Authority, the disease can leave a patient's lung capacity reduced by 20-30 percent.
What did the study on recovered Covid-19 patients reveal?
Dr Owen Tsang Tak-yin, medical director of Hong Kong's Hospital Authority's Infectious Disease Centre at Princess Margaret Hospital, said that out of about a dozen recovered patients, two to three were unable to do things as they had in the past.
"They gasp if they walk a bit more quickly", Dr. Tsang said, South China Morning Post reported. "Some patients might have around a drop of 20 to 30 per cent in lung function [after recovery]", he added.
Lung scans of nine patients at Princess Margaret Hospital revealed that patterns similar to frosted glass were found in all of them, which suggested lung damage. Similar results were established in a study by Zhongnam Hospital of Wuhan University, which analysed 140 lung scans of COVID-19 patients and found a ground glass opacity in both lungs of each patient, DW reported.
What can be done to increase the lung capacity?
Physiotherapy and cardiovascular exercises such as swimming can help the lungs recover gradually, according to Dr. Tsang.
The disease that has killed 18,906 people from around the world has proved to be more fatal for the elderly and those with underlying health issues.
Common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath. A lack of sense of taste and smell are newly established symptoms, especially on those who don't display the other symptoms.
Along with the physical toll, the Covid-19 pandemic is taking a mental and psychological toll on people, due isolation, prolonged lock-downs and a sense of uncertainty.