OCCC Nursing Prof. Jennifer Brumley

For over two years Covid-19 has held the world in a state of terror. 

All across the globe thousands upon thousands of people have gotten Covid. Many have even died because of the serious effects caused by the viral infection. 

The relative newness of the virus leaves many questions unanswered for doctors and scientists around the world. 

Covid is deadly for a multitude of reasons, but the effects it has on the body’s lungs is pronounced. 

With the virus only being a few years old and adapting into new variants researchers sill have more questions than answers, especially regarding the long-term effects of Covid on the respiratory system. 

OCCC Nursing Prof. Jennifer Brumley noted how Covid impacts the respiratory system and common questions that many are asking around the world. 

“You can get pneumonia, you can have scarring, and you can even have dead tissue in the lungs that doesn’t do the gas exchange anymore of oxygen and CO2, which is what we need it to do,” Brumley told the Pioneer. 

The respiratory system can be viciously attacked when Covid enters the human body. 

Those most affected often contract pneumonia while they are infected with the virus and even after it has left their system they are still left with scarring and dead tissue inside their lungs. 

The pneumonia people contract while in the midst of Covid isn’t like normal pneumonia. 

Covid pneumonia is viral, unlike the typical pneumonia. 

“The problem with viral pneumonia in an adult who doesn’t have a really robust immune system anymore is that we don’t really have good therapeutics for it, there is no antibiotic,” Brumley said. 

Repeatedly the lungs are attacked in different ways during a Covid infection. 

This leaves the respiratory system weak and defenseless for each new round of attack. 

This is why so many people have been severely affected by the virus or even died. 

Covid can bring many serious injuries to the lungs not all of them are known. 

Brumley said that doctors are looking at the “pulmonary fibrosis picture [of it]…We will probably know more in 10 years, but right now we are in the middle of it.” 

Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease that causes inflammation and scarring in the lungs. 

It isn’t surprising that this disease is a severe effect of Covid because of how much damage Covid causes the lungs. 

With how badly the lungs can be affected during Covid, the question remains if the damage done is reversible.

“Two years in I don’t think we can say it is not, but I don’t see any evidence that it is,” Brumley said.  

The reality is that Covid does much harm to the respiratory system, and right now the world is developing methodologies to appropriately treat or reverse the damage. 

This doesn’t mean that the wound can never be healed, it just means that up and coming medical professionals will need to adapt and develop better long-term treatments for Covid survivors. 

OCCC has a respiratory care program for those interested in getting involved.  

Being in the middle of a worldwide pandemic makes it difficult for both doctors and scientists to predict outcomes. 

Not enough knowledge is known at the moment about Covid and its effect on the human body. 

As time passes researchers will be able to gain better insight as to the exact impact that Covid has on the body long term. 

The answer right now to many questions is “we don’t know.”

Brumley said this is a common answer for many experts because of how little of Covid is currently understood.

However, like Brumley said, the world is in the middle of the pandemic and who knows what the next 10 years will bring in science.

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