NCH doctor not sold on study saying asymptomatic COVID-19 patients have abnormal lung findings

A coronavirus survivor says it’s scary to not know the long-term effects of COVID-19. But a local doctor at NCH says, although there may be some lung damage found in asymptomatic patients, it’s not life threatening.

Dr. David Linder at NCH says he doesn’t completely agree with a study published in Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. The study says even asymptomatic patients have abnormal lung findings.

“I think we see a whole lot of hype for something that is a typical finding in what you would see in most viral pneumonitis, the x-ray changes you would expect,” Linder said.

Charlie McDonald contracted COVID-19 and has now healed from it. But he has newfound symptoms that that keep his mind occupied.

“It is interesting. Every once in a while, I have a cough that I didn’t have,” McDonald said. “I’m not usually a cougher. Maybe something still could be there.”

Fear of the unknown is ever present for McDonald after he got over his first obstacle, recovering from the coronavirus.

“It’s kinda scary because you just don’t know what’s waiting around the corner,” McDonald said.

And there are health professionals who do warn about the potential COVID-19 has on the human lungs.

“I really don’t know how to say it without being gruesome,” said Dr. Jon Thogmartin, with Pinellas County Forensic Science Center. “It just destroys the lungs. Let me say that.”

“I’m a little concerned,” Nat Wells said. “I wear my mask. Being a single father, I hate to bring her in here, but I have to.”

Wells says hearing about information such from the study can be frightening, especially with a little one.

But Linder says they are not seeing anything out of the ordinary or anything that would be life threatening in asymptomatic patients.

“A few had some small nodules,” Linder said. “None of them had scarring or fibrosis or ARDS findings, nothing that show bad disease.”

Dr. Linder also said they are not finding anything in the lungs of asymptomatic people that would be considered long-term damage. He says his best recommendation he can give everyone is to wear a mask.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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