MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been about a year since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Minnesota. And since then, life has changed and the virus has evolved.
Even though we know more about this virus now than we did last March, there’s still a lot of information to track — and it can get a bit overwhelming. So, every week, we’ll be asking experts about recent COVID-19 developments.READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: As State Reaches 2 Million With First Vaccine Dose, MDH Reports 1,784 Cases, 13 Deaths Sunday
Returning for the fifth week is Dr. George Morris, who is the Physician Vice President for Performance Excellence at CentraCare. Since January of last year, he’s been serving as the physician incident commander for CentraCare’s COVID-19 response.
Watch the video above, or read his answers to some of the bigger COVID-19 questions below.
What is long COVID?
We know COVID has hit different people in different ways. Unfortunately, for many people that has resulted in death. And we do know that many people recover and recover readily, and they get back to usual life. And then there’s the middle group, people that either suffer the long-term consequences – long COVID – or they may have had a mild case, but it just persists.
What are the symptoms of long COVID?
We’re just kind of seeing is probably a few different syndromes. Number one would be what’s called this brain fog, or COVID fog. Just becomes a little difficult thinking, you know, and clearly focusing, and keeping in mind all your schoolwork and work activities.READ MORE: Minnesota Stares Down Another COVID-19 Surge
Other areas that we’re seeing the long term COVID are the lungs, and then the heart. Probably a couple other areas where it could have long-term effects on skin or kidneys. And another one that’s really hard to get a handle on is the long term emotional, or the behavioral changes for long COVID.
We’re just starting to track more of the data, and to really identify how many people had COVID and of that what percentage have this long COVID. 10 to 30% of people may be suffering from some form of long COVID, or these long-term effects.
President Joe Biden says all adults should be eligible for the vaccine by May 1. Is that a realistic goal?
That is ambitious. And I’m OK with a challenge. Even locally in Minnesota, Gov. Walz and our health care organizations want to help lead these efforts. So we are all in and moving us forward quickly. And I think we’ve seen the numbers in our state rise quickly.
We’re now averaging around 250,000 vaccinations a week. And if we keep that up, I think by the end of April, you know, which is six or seven weeks from now, we can be at that point that we vaccinated the most vulnerable. And then if we can do that, by the end of April, we can be ready for anybody.
The University of Minnesota is returning to fully-on campus this fall. How should students prepare for in-person activities?
This is good that we give people a heads up. And I also could see a time when most universities’ higher education do some kind of a blended model. Right now, I would be looking forward for as I look at moving back to campuses: how to do things safely, more the social side, the friends side, the activities side.MORE NEWS: COVID In Minnesota: 2,454 New Cases And 12 Deaths Reported; Over 30% Of Eligible Minnesotans Are Fully Vaccinated
I think that’s a case where the classroom hasn’t been a place where we haven’t seen as much classroom exposures that have caused these large-scale outbreaks. But it’s really the social, the activities. And that’s one thing I think that we can all remember — higher education and for us — to think about it as our social behaviors drive a lot of the virus spread.