The 7 stages of COVID-19

For those vaccinated, infections rarely go beyond Stage 1.

By

National News

August 27, 2021 - 4:16 PM

A COVID-19 patient in an ICU in December. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

I’m a respiratory therapist. With the fourth wave of the pandemic in full swing, fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, the trajectory of the patients I see, from admission to critical care, is all too familiar. When they’re vaccinated, their COVID-19 infections most likely end after Stage 1. If only that were the case for everyone.

Get vaccinated. If you choose not to, here’s what to expect if you are hospitalized for a serious case of COVID-19.

Stage 1. You’ve had debilitating symptoms for a few days, but now it is so hard to breathe that you come to the emergency room. Your oxygen saturation level tells us you need help, a supplemental flow of 1 to 4 liters of oxygen per minute. We admit you and start you on antivirals, steroids, anticoagulants or monoclonal antibodies. You’ll spend several days in the hospital feeling run-down, but if we can wean you off the oxygen, you’ll get discharged. You survive.

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