Can ALS be caused by Covid? At the current time, there is no specific evidence to suggest that ALS increases the risk of contracting COVID-19. However, if you have ALS, several factors in your day-to-day life could lead to COVID-19 exposure. And respiratory muscle weakness due to ALS can make any respiratory infection, including COVID-19, very dangerous for you. Risk factors associated with COVID-19 in ALS include: Health caregivers: The medical and caregiving assistance needed due to ALS disability often involves various therapists and medical professionals for adjustment of medication, feeding tubes, wheelchairs, and more.1 These interactions can increase your risk of exposure to the virus. Diminished muscle tone: With ALS, you can have difficulty coughing and controlling your throat muscles. This may make it harder to clear the virus from your upper respiratory tract, potentially allowing the virus to enter the lungs and cause an infection. Respiratory muscle weakness: ALS affects muscles throughout the body, including the muscles that control breathing. If you develop even a mild respiratory infection, it can have a substantial impact on your breathing—and it can be life-threatening. Respiratory equipment: CO2 exhalation ports, vented masks, and full-face masks that aren’t well fitted can promote the virus’s spread during respiratory treatment, nebulization, suctioning, or cough assist. They are not a route for you to be infected, but if you are infected, you may exhale the virus and endanger your caregivers.3 There is some evidence that people with ALS have worse outcomes with COVID-19. One large Veterans Administration registry found that people with ALS were three times more likely to die within 30 days of a COVID diagnosis compared to those without ALS.4 Complications of ALS and COVID-19 If you have ALS, becoming infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can lead to some specific complications: Pneumonia: The virus can lead to pneumonia, a lung infection that can make you feel run down and impair your breathing ability. Respiratory failiue: If you develop a lung infection due to COVID-19 when your breathing muscles are already weak due to ALS, you can experience sudden respiratory arrest, which is an inability to breathe. Depression and anxiety: These symptoms have been increasing among people living with ALS during the pandemic. This has been attributed to social isolation.5 Research shows that many people living with ALS are not commonly utilizing resources for communication with loved ones during the pandemic.6 It is possible that connection with others through methods like videoconferencing may alleviate some of the effects of isolation for some people living with ALS. The highly contagious nature of the virus and its potential for causing severe illness creates a difficult predicament. It is vital that you contact your healthcare provider if you or someone you live with develops any symptoms of COVID-19 illness.