Weekly Wonder: How COVID-19 affects the human body

By Toni Caushi
BU News Service

BOSTON β€” As the world comes to a halt because of COVID-19, scientific efforts are racing against time to understand the progression of the disease. In Wuhan, China, where the COVID-19 virus was first reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31, 2019, medical professionals began to slowly build the diagnostic and prognostic traits of the virus. 

More than three months later, the virus remains an unknown agent sending the world into an unprecedented battle where the enemy still remains to be fully understood. Countries like Italy and Spain lead the daily death toll, according to the respective officials. The U.S. joined the battle on Jan. 12, with cases rising steadily.

The lungs suffer primarily in COVID-19 patients, but other organs have been observed undergoing distress as the infection advances. The gastrointestinal system shows symptoms, with cases of diarrhea and damage to the liver. Traces of the virus have been found in fecal samples from patients, offering a new method to test for transmission.

Most recently, brain ailments have been reported by frontline doctors who say that brain inflammations and numbness in extremities are noticed among patients with pre-existing neurological issues. This infographic lays out the known symptoms that medical professionals continuously notice in diagnosed patients. 

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