People who survive Covid-19 can be left fighting any one of a number of illnesses for the rest of their lives, researchers in Italy and the UK have discovered.
Researchers are now considering whether or not an epidemic of brain damage, one of the more concerning Covi-19 related complications, will follow the pandemic.
And medics are warning that it doesn’t matter anymore how old you are because studies are now showing everybody - regardless of their age - is vulnerable to the virus.
One range of studies found a range of conditions affecting former Covid-19 patients weeks after they were discharged from hospitals in the northern Italian region of Lombardy.
They include strokes, kidney diseases, psychosis, chronic insomnia, spinal infections and chronic fatigue.
According to the research from Lombardy, where more than 16,730 died, these illnesses are even affecting people who only suffered a mild Covid-19 infection.
Details of the research were revealed to the UK’s Sky News by Dr Roberto Cosentini, head of emergencies at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, in Lombardy.
Images from the Alpine province, where more than 6,000 died, at the height of the first wave of Covid-19 showed coffins being loaded into military trucks as morgues became overwhelmed.
He told Sky News: "At first, initially, we thought it was a bad flu, then we thought it was a bad flu with very bad pneumonia.
“But subsequently we discovered it is a systemic illness with vessel damage in the whole body with renal involvement, cerebral involvement.
"So we are seeing other acute manifestations of renal failure that require dialysis; or stroke, and then acute myocardial infarction, so a lot of complications or other manifestations of the virus.
"And also now we see a significant proportion of the population with chronic damage from the virus."
Dr Emanuela Catenacci, a neurosurgeon at Cremona Hospital, in Cremona, Lombardy, said: "The virus is a systemic infection.
“It’s not (just) high respiratory or low respiratory infection, it's not finished (at) that.” The Italian studies come at a time when one in the UK has discovered that neurological complications of Covid-19 can include delirium, brain inflammation, stroke and nerve damage.
Joint senior author Dr Michael Zandi, of University College London’s Queen Square Institute of Neurology said: “We identified a higher than expected number of people with neurological conditions such as brain inflammation, which did not always correlate with the severity of respiratory symptoms.
“We should be vigilant and look out for these complications in people who have had Covid-19. “Whether we will see an epidemic on a large scale of brain damage linked to the pandemic – perhaps similar to the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s after the 1918 influenza pandemic – remains to be seen.”