Hungarian infectious disease expert warns of post-coronavirus fatigue and PTSD

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Beyond the immediate effects of the coronavirus infection, 20 to 25 percent of healed patients are likely to display chronic fatigue or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) syndromes, János Szlávik, the chief infectious disease expert of the South Buda Hospital, told Hungarian television channel M1 on Tuesday.

Szlávik said that experience from the two previous two infections similar to COVID-19, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) indicate that 20 to 25 percent of patients who recovered from SARS suffered from chronic fatigue and needed as much as three years to overcome it.

Szlávik’s expertise on the topic is especially relevant as the South Buda Hospital is the main center for coronavirus treatment in Hungary.

He also noted that the secondary effects of the current COVID-19 strain also include PTSD, which manifests itself in about 10 percent of cured patients and also take years to fully recover from.

In light of the rising number of coronavirus infections in Hungary, Szlávik warned that urban youth were the least observant of current protective regulations, which could speed up the second wave of the pandemic and further endanger the elderly.

Wearing face masks on public transportation, shops and public indoors areas is still mandatory in Hungary.

Hungarian authorities are still trying — so far successfully — to prevent the major spike in new infections which has affected a number of neighboring countries.

According to the latest data, the number of new cases in Croatia to the south showed a new peak of 208 on Aug. 13, more than twice as many as during the first peak on April 1 of 96 cases.

The same applies to Romania to the east, where new cases peaked at 1,454 on Aug. 13, almost three times as high as during the first wave on April 11 of 523. While there also was a slight rise in the number of cases in Hungary since the beginning of August, the seven-day moving average of new cases still remains at 31, barely one-third of what was in the second half of April.

Title image: János Szlávik, chief infectious disease expert of the South Buda Hospital. (source: M1 TV)

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