While the coronavirus is known to cause deadly respiratory problems, research is now showing the multitude of ways the disease can ravage the entire body.

Through a growing number of studies, reports and doctor’s experiences, the deadly virus has been linked to issues in everything from the brain to the toes.

Here is a breakdown of the ways COVID-19 can affect different parts of the body:


The coronavirus has been observed to turn eyes red, causing pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, in some patients.

Physicians have suggested that the condition develops in the severely ill and one study of 38 hospitalized patients in Hubei, China, found that a third had pinkeye.


Neurological symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, impaired consciousness, skeletal-muscle injuries have been documented among cases.

Chinese doctors in April published a study on nervous-system function in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found that patients can also experience more serious issues — including seizures and stroke, which occurs when a blood clot reaches the brain, according to the Wall Street Journal.


Doctors have seen alarming cases of myocarditis  an inflammation of the heart muscle — in addition to irregular heart rhythms that can lead to cardiac arrest in coronavirus patients, according to the Washington Post.

“They seem to be doing really well as far as respiratory status goes, and then suddenly they develop a cardiac issue that seems out of proportion to their respiratory issues,” said Mitchell Elkind, a Columbia University neurologist and president-elect of the American Heart Association, told the outlet.

Sensory system

The loss of the ability to taste and smell has emerged as a peculiar symptom strongly associated with the virus.

The condition, which is known as anosmia, was not initially recognized as a symptom of the virus, but data from a symptom-tracking app in one study found that 60 percent of people who tested positive reported losing their senses of smell and taste, according to researchers from King’s College London.

About a quarter experienced the strange symptom before developing other conditions, suggesting it may be an early sign of the virus.


The coronavirus also causes blood thickening and clots in the veins, according to doctors.

The clots can break loose and travel to the lungs and brain, potentially causing a deadly condition known as pulmonary embolism.

It’s still not known why the virus causes the blood clots to form, or why the body is unable to break them up.

Gastrointestinal system

Digestive issues, such as diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain, have been among the chief complaints of many patients.

Nearly half of the virus patients admitted to the hospital in the central Chinese province of Hubei, where the outbreak occurred, reported experiencing digestive problems, according to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.


Kidney damage has been reported among hospitalized patients, with an alarming percentage who require dialysis.

Nearly half of hospitalized patients have blood or protein in the urine, suggesting there is early damage to the kidneys, one nephrologist told the Washington Post.

And early data showed that between 14 to 30 percent of intensive care patients in New York and Wuhan, China, lost kidney function and required dialysis or continuous renal replacement therapy, according to the report.


Foot sores nicknamed “COVID toes” have been documented as an odd symptom linked to the virus.

Physicians have observed the purple foot sores, which are similar to those of chickenpox or measles, among mostly young coronavirus patients in Italy, France and Spain.

Immune system

Physicians have found in some cases that a patient’s immune system goes into overdrive to fight the infection.

The response, which is known as “cytokine release syndrome,” can cause damage that results in severe inflammation and organ failure, NPR reported.


COVID-19 is well known to cause coughing, trouble breathing, and in some cases, severe pneumonia.

The infection can work its way into the lungs, filling tiny air sacs with cells and fluid that prevent the flow of oxygen, the Guardian reported.

When the air sacs become inflamed, pneumonia can develop in the lungs, which then struggle to get enough oxygen to the bloodstream — reducing the body’s ability to take on oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide, according to the outlet.

Ultimately, this can lead to death in severe cases, the outlet said.

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