Doctor says some patients' lasting effects are worse than COVID

A new medical study finds that 1 in 3 coronavirus survivors are dealing with serious neurological symptoms. One doctor says patients that weren't "that sick" with COVID are now dealing with something much worse, "long haul" side effects.

Video Transcript

JOANNA HELLLMUTH: People are having crushing headaches. People are having cognitive symptoms that are--

JR STONE: UCSF's Dr. Joanna Helmut is describing some of what's called long-haul symptoms, or lasting conditions that her COVID survivor patients are dealing with.

JOANNA HELLLMUTH: I have a number of patients who were not that sick with COVID, and now have lasting cognitive problems that really impair their ability to do their job the way they did before.

JOANNA HELLLMUTH: A medical study released this week finds that one third of those who had COVID-19 are now dealing with a brain disorder, naming anxiety, mood disorders, and even strokes. Dr. Helmut says her patients have several other lasting symptoms, too.

JOANNA HELLLMUTH: Headache disorders are very common in people, new dizziness, things we call vertigo-- processing, people who have ringing in their ears, or their blood pressure isn't being regulated well and people are passing out.

JR STONE: Stanford's Dr. Grace Lee says COVID precautions and vaccines are just as important due to these long-haul threats.

GRACE LEE: The long-haul COVID could actually really impact people, and it's really going to be the young adults who get it.

JR STONE: Dr. Helmut says some of her patients are teens. Online, many COVID survivors responded on this topic. Maria described, daily headaches and vertigo. And Crystal says she's getting the vaccine due to her concerns over these lingering side effects.

JOANNA HELLLMUTH: I have patients who got COVID-19 over a year ago-- so in early March 2020-- who developed cognitive symptoms when they were acutely ill, who still have them, who have not gotten better.

JR STONE: I talked with a number of people battling these long-haul symptoms who are embarrassed just to talk about it. Dr. Helmut tells me they are working to find the cause of this so that they can help those people. JR Stone, ABC 7 News.