COVID-19 can cause long-term health issues for some patients, SoCal ER doctor says

Dr. Anthony Cardillo, a local medical specialist, explains the latest in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and gives his perspective on why some coronavirus patients are experiencing longer recovery times and additional health issues.
Dr. Anthony Cardillo, ER specialist and CEO of Mend Urgent Care, joined ABC7 via Skype to discuss some of the latest news surrounding the coronavirus, including the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and why some people are experiencing longer recovery times from coronavirus infections.

A recent report from the World Health Organization noted many COVID-19 recoveries were taking a lot longer than expected. What has been your experience about recovery times or lingering symptoms?

"We are seeing people that are sick for months now. And this is not unlike other viral illnesses that we are exposed to. Think about polio for example or hepatitis. These are viruses that we get infected with that do cause either permanent or long-lasting damage," said Cardillo. "We're starting to see that with the COVID patients. They are having long-term issues, cardiac, pulmonary, renal in the kidneys. We're seeing patients that are just recovering really slowly with lingering symptoms."

Operation Warp Speed: Amid the government's vaccine efforts, officials say they expect 300 million doses to be available by January 2021. Who will get the vaccine first? Do you think this is too ambitious?

"Whenever you're manufacturing something obviously you want to be fast, accurate and inexpensive. And you can't have all three, unfortunately. So I think at this point we're gonna be fast and hopefully accurate, but it's not gonna be cheap. The government is dumpling billions of dollars into this, and the goal is to have that vaccine by the end of the year," said Cardillo. "We're gonna have to be working really hard to make sure every box is checked as we are flying through in warp speed to get this accomplished."

Cardillo says cases are rising locally and he hopes we'll have 300 million vaccines, which will be prioritized to the elderly, nursing home patients and those who are sick.

Ask the doctor: Nick from Whittier is a personal trainer who is concerned about training clients and members who don't wear masks at the gym. He wants to know what his risk is and how can he minimize catching COVID-19.

"He should mandate that every one of his clients is actually wearing a mask," said Cardillo. "That's a very risky proposition to be in that closed confined space and having no mask wearing. That's a big problem."

Watch the full interview in the video above.

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