FALSE: DO NOT SHARE
COVID-19 is actually pulmonary thrombosis.
False. COVID-19 is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus and is not pulmonary thrombosis.
In Facebook post, it is claimed that ‘autopsies prove COVID-19 is a disseminated intravascular coagulation (pulmonary thrombosis)’. Information from Italian pathologists is said to show ‘ventilators and intensive care units were never needed’ and there has been a ‘serious pathophysiological diagnosis error’.
These statements are false. The World Health Organization (WHO) makes it clear that COVID-19 ‘is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus’. Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a separate condition causing abnormal blood clotting throughout the body, while pulmonary thrombosis or embolism occurs when blood clots block blood vessels in the lungs. Neither DIC or pulmonary thrombosis are themselves infectious diseases and they do not share all of the same symptoms as COVID-19.
The specific report by Italian pathologists from which this claim is supposedly derived is not mentioned. However, we can confirm there has been research into the links between COVID-19 and thromboembolic complications. This includes a study conducted in an academic hospital in Milan, Italy. The authors, who recognise the ‘limitations’ to their analysis, comment that ‘the high mortality observed among COVID-19 patients could be ‘partly due to unrecognised pulmonary embolism’, with their results indicating thromboembolic complications may ‘be present already at the time of hospital admission’. This is not the same as concluding COVID-19 has been misdiagnosed or that it is in fact a completely different illness.
Finally, intensive care units provide treatment for those who are very ill, such as COVID-19 patients who develop serious symptoms, examples being pneumonia and organ failure. Ventilators are needed for the management of respiratory failure and are as such included in the NHS clinical guide for critical care of adults with COVID-19. In the UK at the time of writing, 17% of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital required intensive or high dependency care.
US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation
Thrombosis Research: Venous and arterial thromboembolic complications in COVID-19 patients admitted to an academic hospital in Milan, Italy
NHS: Clinal guides for the management of critical care for adults with COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic
The Guardian: Critical care patients