Pneumonia vs. COVID-19 Pneumonia

My 13 year old recently asked why the photos of scans of pneumonia versus COVID-19 lungs are so different if the complications from the coronavirus causes pneumonia. This blog is for him 😉

This article from Ohio states “The COVID-19 virus can cause pneumonia, a lung infection caused by viruses, bacteria or fungal infections. Severe pneumonia, including an infection caused by the coronavirus, can lead to a more severe condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. The respiratory failure carries a high mortality rate, and early research suggests the risk of death might be higher among COVID-19 patients.” And “Severe pneumonia, including the infections associated with COVID-19, can escalate to the point a patient develops ARDS. Fluid buildup in the lungs prevents them from filling with air, decreasing the amount of oxygen that reaches the bloodstream.”

15% of the cases will cause severe enough issues that patients require oxygen in the hospital. Approximately 5% of severe infections require a ventilator. This US New article states “ACE2 receptors are found in abundance in lung cells. The coronavirus can enter lung cells via these receptors and begin replicating itself. But that act of attachment also triggers the cell to respond. “When the virus attaches to these receptors, it causes an inflammatory reaction that causes more damage than the virus itself,” Parsons explains.”

What happens with COVID-19 is similar to autoimmune diseases in that some people, when exposed their systems go way overboard and causes damage in the wake of trying to fight off the virus. Since this is an aggressive viral pneumonia, antibiotics will not work. The danger is lack of oxygen with more damage to the lungs then your “typical” pneumonia and those who battle more cause excess damage in the process.