COVID-19 May Be Masking Ongoing Vape Crisis

August 4, 2020

Missoula, MTAurelius Data, the first global patient perception big data company in plant-based medicines, finds that doctors and researches are no longer tracking e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) and signs of EVALI can look a lot like a COVID-19 infection.

“Serious, even deadly, vaping-linked lung injuries dominated the headlines late last year, then COVID-19 took over the news cycle. Now researchers are saying it isn’t clear if EVALI cases had been missed in early 2020 because those people with EVALI could also have had COVID-19,” said Julie Armstrong, CEO and Co-founder of Aurelius Data. 

More than ten cases of EVALI were reported in California in April, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Teens usage of vaping has not slowed down because of COVID, but doctors may not be looking for EVALI much anymore.

According to the new CDC report, the eight California EVALI patients went to the hospital about four days after symptoms began. Their average age was 17. Six said they had vaped THC.   

The CDC stopped tracking EVALI in early 2020 because cases appeared to be waning after a September 2019 peak. But as of Feb. 18, more than 2,800 people nationwide had been hospitalized with life-threatening lung damage tied to e-cigarette use, the CDC said. Sixty-eight died.

Most patients with electronic cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) reported use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products in the three months preceding symptom onset, according to research published in the Oct. 28 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“Right now, the country is consumed with COVID and trying to diagnose it. The problem is that the symptoms for EVALI and COVID are the same – shortness of breath, fever and chills, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, rapid heart and chest pain.”

It is not clear whether vaping increases susceptibility to the new coronavirus, but it definitely increases the risk for COVID-19 complications. 

Ultimately, it’s important to see a doctor if you use e-cigarettes and develop symptoms like cough, shortness of breath or fever—and to be honest about your vaping so you can get the right diagnosis,” added Armstrong.



Aurelius Data, Inc is a patient use and perception focused big data company. We deliver insights from analyzing the intersection of science, user perception, product use, chemical analysis, and the users’ reported medical condition and symptom resolution. Our mission is to put the patient first, by increasing confidence and understanding, drive product development, boost customer retention, reveal cutting edge IP discoveries, and provide immediate, tangible value to every user.  

Our anonymously gathered data follows HIPAA compliance and immediately benefits the user through a continuous feedback loop of user input, product recommendations and community connection. Our vision is to go beyond the strain and create a reliable product use and efficacy reference for cannabis users.   

Contact: Gretchen Gailey, Media & PR Advisor, Aurelius Data, 202.489.3821