With New York being the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., the healthcare system is already overwhelmed by the oncoming number of cases. In this scenario, doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital were further baffled when they noticed signs of blood thickening and clotting in different organs of coronavirus-infected patients. 

This recently observed occurrence is another way that the virus is damaging the human body, something the doctors have just realized. Like at Mount Sinai, nephrologists noticed that their kidney dialysis catheters were getting plugged with clots. 

On the other hand, COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilators had portions of lungs oddly bloodless as reported by pulmonologists. The number of patients coming in with strokes has also increased, of which at least half have tested positive for coronavirus. 

“It’s very striking how much this disease causes clots to form,” Dr. J Mocco, a Mount Sinai neurosurgeon, said. The new symptoms, such as the blood clotting in different organs in patients proves that COVID-19 is not merely a lung disease as perceived earlier. At the beginning of mid-March, Mocco had 32 stroke patients with large blood blockages in the brain, with five under age 49 and no obvious risk factors for strokes, “which is crazy,” he said. “Very, very atypical.” Of the 32, at least half went on to be tested positive for COVID-19. 

In an attempt to deal with this and maybe use it as a way to treat COVID-19 before it worsens as in many cases a stroke is the very first symptom, the Mount Sinai doctors are discussing the problem with their colleagues from various specialties to set up a new treatment protocol. According to it, patients now receive high doses of a blood-thinning drug, even when they exhibit no signs of clotting. 

“Maybe, just maybe, if you prevent the clotting, you can make the disease less severe,” said Dr. David Reich, the hospital president. But that doesn’t mean that all is well and people can throw caution out the window. 

“I certainly wouldn’t expect harps to play and angels to sing and people to just rip out their intravenous lines and waltz out of the hospital,” said Reich. “It’s likely going to be something where it just moderates the extent of the disease.”

Coronavirus COVID-19 Doctors New York, USA Doctors test hospital staff with flu-like symptoms for coronavirus (COVID-19) in set-up tents to triage possible COVID-19 patients outside before they enter the main Emergency department area at St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx on March 24, 2020 in New York City. New York City has about a third of the nation’s confirmed coronavirus cases, making it the center of the outbreak in the United States. Misha Friedman/Getty Images