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Maybe Mild is The Wrong Word

In The Washington Post, Fenit Nirappil shares perspectives from vaccinated individuals with mild COVID-19 cases marked by more significant symptoms than anticipated.

Sources say the breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections they went through were far from trifling, leading to severe fatigue, fever, and other various aches and pains, though they are confident that the shot kept them from becoming even more ill.

"Seven vaccinated people who ended up sicker than they expected shared their stories and said they did not want to case doubt on vaccines — because they believe their outcome would have been much worse had they not been inoculated," Nirappil writes. "Instead, they said they want to help fellow vaccinated people weigh their risks as they decide when to wear a mask and whether to attend a wedding or travel for vacation. They also do not want people to assume a mild case is trivial."

A Healthline article published in January highlighted findings from an Annals of the American Thoracic Society study suggesting that mild COVID-19 cases, more generally, can lead to long-term symptoms or "long-haul" COVID-19. That analysis included nearly 500 individuals, and was performed in Ireland prior to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

Last week, The New York Times reported on mild and not-so-mild "breakthrough" infections in fully vaccinated individuals, particularly involving the delta variant.

"For some, breakthrough infections have felt like mild allergies, coming with symptoms including a cough, sniffles, and a scratchy throat," Emma Goldberg writes. "Others have had more severe cases, where they are bedridden with body aches, fevers, and chills. And still others have had some of the telltale signs of COVID such as loss of taste and smell, 'COVID rash,' and brain fog."