Hawaii COVID-19 expert concerned about heart damage for young people


HONOLULU (KHON2) – One of Hawaii’s leading COVID-19 experts has a dire warning for young people: take COVID-19 seriously or you could be facing heart damage and potentially premature death.

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It’s a condition called viral myocarditis, which is a weakening of the general heart muscle.

“That is happening upwards of 50% of the people who are hospitalized with COVID will end up with some kind of cardiac damage. Some more severe than others,” Dr. Miscovich said. “When you have that much damage to your heart muscles, not only are you going to be short of breath walking to a chair to the bathroom, you’re probably only going to survive five years.”

The recent surge in United States COVID-19 cases has been fueled by young people, who are often reported to have more mild cases.

So far just 25 people aged 20-39 years old in Hawaii have been hospitalized, but that same demographic makes up the highest number of cases in Hawaii.

“We keep focusing on the immediate loss of life, but the loss of life we’re going to see at all age groups from COVID moving forward is going to be devastating,” Dr. Miscovich said. “We can’t even count it right now. What it’s going to be like going on one year, two years, five years from now?”

The potential impacts are another reason why Dr. Miscovich is adamant about boosting our testing capabilities in Hawaii.

He’s pushing for all tests to be turned around in 24 hours, not just priority tests like nursing homes or medical workers. Many tests sent to the continent’s labs take four to five days for results.

“I wish we had those in 24 hours,” Miscovich said. “That’s what you need to fight COVID. That’s how you stop COVID because even with these people that are going through these broad screenings, we’re going to find positives, but it’s already five days out.”

It’s something he thinks needs to be addressed immediately to help from having Hawaii’s hospitals surged passed capacity.

“Right now our intensive cares are almost over the limit.,” he said. “We’ve already been given the word that there’s going to be preparation to potentially be building an emergency pop up hospital right here right now.”

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