Low chance of lasting COVID effects are good sign for Rockets’ Westbrook

With Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook revealing he tested positive for the coronavirus, I researched what we know about potential long-term effects.

While everyone had their suspicions about why Russell Westbrook stayed behind when the Houston Rockets flew to Orlando, confirmation was finally given on Monday. As Westbrook shared to his social media channels, he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the team’s departure to Orlando.

While he didn’t offer a timetable for when he expects to be cleared, Westbrook shared in his post that he looks forward to rejoining his teammates once that becomes the case. If Coach Mike D’Antoni’s guess is correct, Westbrook would be joining the club by the middle of this week, but his answer was given prior to Russell’s announcement.

More important than the potential of Westbrook missing some on-court time, however, is how the coronavirus could impact his long-term health.

How COVID-19 Could Affect the Houston Rockets Superstar

Before diving into what we know from research, it’s important to note that I am in no way a medical professional or qualified to give my own opinion on the effects of the coronavirus. Everything I reference will be cited online research that you can read for yourself for more information.

Since the novel coronavirus only had its outbreak within the last year, there’s obviously no firsthand knowledge of what long-term effects will result from those that have tested positive. As ABC News reported in April 2020, however, other respiratory diseases can teach us about lingering effects.

In her report, Erin Schumaker used similar diseases as well as preliminary data from the CDC to give us an educated prediction on the lasting effects of contracting COVID-19. She quotes Dr. Shu-Yuan Ziao, a pathology professor at the Univerisity of Chicago School of Medicine, saying most patients with mild illness should recover “with no lasting effect.”

When long-term effects could become more of a worry is when COVID-19 symptoms become serious enough to warrant a visit to the ICU and the use of a ventilator, as Schumaker states:

Patients who go into the intensive care unit and need ventilators are more likely to have lung damage and to develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a severe lung condition in which fluid collects in the lungs’ air sacs.

Given the fact that Russell Westbrook said he’s feeling well in his social media post, the hope is that he’s asymptomatic, which lowers the likelihood of any potential long-lasting effects of the virus. While the virus certainly is a force to be concerned about overall, the good news for Westbrook and the Rockets is that his chances of a full, lingering-effect-free recovery are high.

Still, as we all look to flatten the curve together, it’s important to listen to Westbrook and take this virus seriously.

For more information on the coronavirus, please visit the WHO or CDC’s COVID-19 pages.