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The mystery of long-term coronavirus patients

Some coronavirus patients still have symptoms months after they are first infected, challenging the narrative that most people will survive the disease and move on.

Why it matters: As cases soar in the U.S., thousands more people will not only be hospitalized or die, but also will keep feeling the effects of the infection months from now.


Where it stands: Six months into the pandemic, we’re still figuring out how the virus works, how it kills people and the implications for the people who survive it.

Long-term symptoms range from neurological issues like “brain fogs” to an elevated heart rate.

  • One study of Italian patients, published in JAMA, evaluated patients’ symptoms several weeks after they’d been discharged from the hospital and tested negative for the virus. It found that only 12.6% of them were free of any coronavirus-related symptoms.
  • Common symptoms among recovered patients include fatigue, difficulty breathing, joint and chest pain, cough and headache.
  • Many of these patients are “younger and had previously been healthy, with Covid cases initially considered mild to moderate. But months later they are still sick, and some are getting worse,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

What they’re saying: David Putrino, director of rehabilitation innovation at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, told the WSJ that he thinks most patients with long-term symptoms are developing dysautonomia, a neurological condition that occurs when the autonomic nervous system is out of balance.

  • It’s not clear whether the condition is a result of an overactive immune system, the virus itself, or is a post-viral syndrome, Putrino said.
  • Another explanation is chronic fatigue syndrome, which some scientists theorize can be caused by stressful events.

The bottom line: “I’ve been very concerned by friends and family who just aren’t taking this seriously because they think you’re either asymptomatic or dead,” Hannah Davis, a patient who in June had been suffering from the virus for more than 70 days, told The Atlantic’s Ed Yong. “This middle ground has been hellish.”

Aug. 4 primaries: Voters visit the polls in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington

Primary elections on Tuesday in fives states see crowded fields of both Republicans and Democrats hoping to make the ballot in 2020.

What to watch: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is "fighting for her political life" in a tight primary race against Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, who Tlaib beat by 900 votes in 2018, The New York Times writes. Senate Republicans are also watching the primary race in Kansas to see who could replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.

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"Mulan" will head to Disney+, home to more than 60 million subscribers, for $29.99

Disney announced Tuesday that its most highly-anticipated blockbuster of the year, the live-action remake of "Mulan," is heading to Disney+ on Sept. 4 for consumers to purchase for a premium access fee of $29.99. The movie's theatrical debut had previously been delayed four times.

Why it matters: It's a huge blow to movie exhibitors across the country that were relying on the Disney hit to come exclusively to theaters for at least a few months before being made available to consumers at home via streaming.

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Local governments go to war over schools

The next big coronavirus battleground will be over who has the final say on whether schools can stay open.

Why it matters: This involves the safety of young children and their parents, not to mention older educators and staff, and comes at the same time as many of the parents are out of work.

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Podcast: The debate over COVID-19 liability protections

Stimulus talks continue to move slowly, with Democrats and Republicans unable to agree on whether or not to include coronavirus-related liability protections for businesses, health facilities and schools.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the debate, which could reset the cost-benefit analysis for businesses thinking about reopening and employees thinking about returning.

The U.S. is at risk of attacks in space

Other nations are catching up to U.S. capabilities in space, potentially putting American assets in orbit at risk.

Why it matters: From GPS to imagery satellites and others that can peer through clouds, space data is integral to American national security.

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Massive explosion rocks Beirut

A major explosion has slammed central Beirut, Lebanon, and damaged buildings as far as several miles away.

Driving the news: The cause of the explosion is unknown, as are details of potential deaths and injuries. It comes as Lebanon grapples with a crippling financial crisis and the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Trump's Treasury demand poses another threat to a potential TikTok sale

President Trump said twice Monday that the U.S. Treasury would need to get a portion of the sale price of TikTok, as a condition of regulatory approval.

Why it matters: This is akin to extortion — the sort of thing you'd expect to hear on a wiretap, not from the White House in front of reporters.

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Ford names James Farley as new CEO amid ongoing turnaround effort

Ford announced Tuesday that James Farley will take over as its next CEO, replacing James Hackett, 65, who is retiring after three years in the job.

Why it matters: It leaves Farley to complete the company's ongoing turnaround effort. The transition will be that much harder as the industry tries to navigate the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown which shuttered Ford plants for two months on the eve of some of its most important vehicle launches.

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