Doctors now seeing younger patients, better treatments and longer-lasting effects of COVID-19

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors knew very little about the virus.

“Ultimately, we were pretty blind and didn’t really know what we were getting into and what these patients look like,” said Todd Rice, Director of Medical Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Thankfully, eight months later, doctors like Rice say they have better understanding of what to expect from coronavirus patients.

“There are a couple treatments now that have improved our outcomes and we’re seeing people do better in general with those,” Rice explained. “The patients we’ve seen have changed a little bit, and we are seeing some younger… a little bit younger than the initial group that we saw.”

Rice also says doctors now have a better understanding of which patients need hospitalization versus who could be seen by telemedicine instead.

Still, Rice says there is much about the virus that doctors are still learning. For instance, the long-term effects of having the virus.

“If you ask me: ‘What do these patients look like a year after they’ve gotten COVID?’ We have no idea because we don’t have that experience yet,” Rice said. “So, we’re just now getting that experience. What we’re learning is that there’s a group of patients that have gotten COVID that have lingering effects, even six months after.”

Rice says research shows patients having issues like inflammation of the heart, pain, and tingling or even a symptom which some are calling “COVID fog.”

“There seems to be this mental kind of ‘you know, I’m just not as sharp as I was before I got it. And I can’t really remember things like I used to,'” said Rice.

As we approach the holidays, Rice advises families to socially distance themselves and wear masks while celebrating together.

COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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