I was reading the latest research studies on COVID-19 when I happened across a study suggesting a hypothesis, that melatonin might help avoid lung fibrosis in survivors of severe cases of COVID-19 . This led me to read an article on SARS , which talked about a danger faced by survivors of severe cases of SARS. “In a 1-year follow-up study, pulmonary fibrosis was observed in the lungs of 27.5% of SARS survivors.” [2, 3]. And pulmonary fibrosis leads to a significant decrease in the quality of life, as well as an increased risk of death long after the virus has cleared.
Now COVID-19 is caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2, while SARS is caused by SARS-CoV (now called SARS-CoV-1). They are similar in many ways. In particular, COVID-19 severely afflicts the lungs, just as SARS does. So COVID-19 survivors may possibly face a second serious health risk and risk of death, from the damage their lungs sustained while they were sick with Covid.
And that means the real death rate from this pandemic cannot be determined by counting the dead. Not yet anyway.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
P.S. I’m not recommending melatonin, that’s just coincidentally what I was reading.
 Shneider, Alexander, Aleksandr Kudriavtsev, and Anna Vakhrusheva. “Can Melatonin Reduce the Severity of COVID-19 Pandemic?.” (2020).
 Venkataraman, Thiagarajan, Christopher M. Coleman, and Matthew B. Frieman. “Overactive epidermal growth factor receptor signaling leads to increased fibrosis after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection.” Journal of virology 91.12 (2017): e00182-17.
 Hui, David S., et al. “The 1-year impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome on pulmonary function, exercise capacity, and quality of life in a cohort of survivors.” Chest 128.4 (2005): 2247-2261.