New York Institute of Technology
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

With more than 8 million COVID-19 cases in the United States, there tends to be a focus on the number of people who have died (currently more than 223,000). However, it is important to note that among those who survive, there are serious concerns about the long-term sequalae of COVID-19. I’ll address some of these concerns below, but first, I want to remind everyone that flu season is upon us. The Academic Health Care Center will be administering flu shots at the
Long Island campus next Tuesday and New York City campus next Wednesday (see details at the end of this message).

We must always bear in mind that COVID-19 is a novel, or new, disease, and we do not fully understand how these infections will affect the human body over time. We do know that Sars Cov-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, affects the human body from the “nose to the toes.” This term makes reference to symptoms and pathology resulting in congestion, loss of smell, a runny nose, and/or “COVID toes,” a dermatological manifestation of tender or painful red or purple bumps and perhaps a burning sensation on the toes of COVID-19 patients.

We also understand that this infection can cause inflammatory processes within blood vessels and, as a result, affect many organs throughout the body. In addition to the lungs, this virus can affect the heart, liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and neurological system, including the brain. Parallels have been drawn to the first discovered SARS virus, in which 38% of individuals in a
small study had oxygen diffusion problems as long as 15 years later after contracting the virus.

There is a concern that this new coronavirus may behave in the same way and cause longstanding medical problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is particularly focused on the heart. As the
CDC shares, the virus can affect not only the heart muscle, causing a myocarditis, but also the lining of the heart, causing a pericarditis. Both of these may contribute to the observed long-term sequelae of ongoing shortness of breath and chronic fatigue. There is also a concern that the infection may increase the risk of heart failure or other complications.

Neurological problems are also a grave concern. We now understand that COVID-19 can cause strokes, seizures, and Guillain-Barre syndrome (temporary paralysis) in young as well as older infected individuals. Data also suggests that COVID-19 may increase the risk of developing Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. More information on this subject can be found on the
Mayo Clinic website.

Unfortunately, the only way to evaluate the long-term effects of this disease is to study it over time. While we may not have the answers to many questions for years, the conclusions remain the same: We have more to learn about this novel coronavirus, and, in the interim, we must continue with preventive behaviors, including mask-wearing, physical distancing, and proper hand hygiene.

Get a Flu Shot at the Long Island or New York City Campus Next Week:
The CDC recommends that everyone get a flu shot by the end of October. Watch this
CDC video to see why it’s more important than ever to get a flu vaccine this year. Next week, the Academic Health Care center will be administering flu shots on a first-come/first-served basis on:
  • October 27, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Student Activities Center, Long Island campus, Academic Health Care Center or through another source, including urgent care facilities, drug stores, and health care providers.
  • October 28, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.: 1855 Broadway (first-floor library), New York City campus.
Community members are asked to bring health insurance cards; those without a card will not be turned away.

As always, the New York Tech community is welcome to make an appointment for a flu shot (or a COVID test) at the Academic Health Care Center in Long Island by calling 516.686.1300. Those who may feel anxious or uneasy should reach out to
Counseling and Wellness Services at our campuses in Long Island (516.686.7683) or New York City (212.261.1773) to talk or make a virtual appointment.


Brian L. Harper, M.D., M.P.H.
Chief Medical Officer, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine

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