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Getting Answers: How COVID-19 could affect the lungs

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TUCSON- Banner Health released a blog post outlining the possible short and long-term effects the coronavirus could have on the lungs.

Dr. Christian Bime, the medical director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Banner - University Medical Center in Tucson, stated that early symptoms of COVID-19 aren't drastically different from other common respiratory infections.

The World Health Organization reported that 80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic, 15% are severe, and 5% are critical.

During a severe or critical period with COVID-19, Banner Health stated that Dr. Bime listed some reactions for short-term effects:

  • Lung tissue swells with fluid
  • The immune system goes into overdrive
  • Body is more susceptible to additional infections

Dr. Bime added that he has seen a trend of blood clots becoming more common in COVID-19 patients and that the cause of this is still uncertain, according to Banner Health.

Since the coronavirus is new, doctors are still researching the long-term effects.

In the Banner Health blog post, Dr. Bime stated that this coronavirus causes a well-known syndrome known as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, which causes fluid build up in the tiny air sacs of the lungs.

Dr. Bime listed some of the conditions people who have recovered from ARDS may deal with:

  • Limited lung capacity
  • Psychiatric issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, cognitive impairment, and anxiety
  • Kidney complications which could lead to a need for long-term dialysis
  • Poor conditioning due to limited lung and/or organ function

According to Banner Health, Dr. Bime said that the coronavirus multiples very quickly and it doesn't take long to spread.

If you have a question about the coronavirus, email

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Priscilla Casper

Priscilla Casper is an anchor and multi-skilled journalist for News 4 Tucson. She anchors weekdays at noon and 5 p.m.

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