05:01 GMT21 October 2020
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    In new guidelines issued Thursday, the Chinese National Health Commission added long-term damage to internal organs as well as various mental health issues to its list of potential effects of COVID-19.

    In the new guidelines, health authorities noted that recovered COVID-19 patients may require treatment for lung and heart damage, muscle loss and even psychological disorders. In addition, the authorities have designated the conditions as chronic diseases and have expanded insurance coverage for medical expenses involving such complications that may arise after COVID-19 recovery.

    “As the number of COVID-19 patients discharged from hospital increases, the rehabilitation needs have become prominent,” the commission said in the guidelines, the South China Morning Post reported.

    Even though most patients, especially those with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms, can completely recover without any long-term health consequences, some studies have shown that those who experience severe symptoms of the disease suffer from organ damage. 

    Some patients, according to the commission, can even develop heart conditions like angina (chest pain) and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). However, Chinese authorities have not added kidney damage as a potential effect of COVID-19 infection, despite the fact that a recent study by Northwell Health, the largest health provider in New York State, found that almost 37% of a study group of 5,449 novel coronavirus patients also experienced acute kidney injury. Some of those patients even required dialysis to survive.

    The new guidelines also outline potential mental health issues that can arise from having been a COVID-19 patient, including depression, insomnia and eating disorders. Other potential issues include muscle and limb-function loss.

    There has also been an increasing number of cases of children dying from multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which resembles Kawasaki disease, an illness that usually affects children younger than 5 years old and causes inflammation in the blood vessels throughout the body.

    Some doctors believe that the disease could be linked to COVID-19. A 9-year-old boy in France, who also tested positive for COVID-19, recently died from the inflammatory condition, and doctors are still trying to understand the link between the disease and the coronavirus. However, Chinese authorities have yet to add the inflammatory disease to the guidelines’ list of COVID-19-related conditions.

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