What is covid long? Although there are no precise definitions, it generally means symptoms that persist beyond four weeks since the initial infection and which are difficult to explain otherwise. Some of the most common are fatigue and memory problems, but others can include difficulty breathing, cough, chest pain, heart palpitations, headache, dizziness, change in smell or taste, depression, anxiety, and diarrhea. More than two years after the start of the pandemic, scientists try to understand who gets long covid and how the infection can cause lasting damage.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the long covid cuts a wide swath. A new survey for the Journal of Infectious Diseases reviewed approximately 50 articles and studies covering nearly 1.7 million patients worldwide infected with the coronavirus. Overall, the authors found that the global prevalence of long covid symptoms was 43% of those who had been infected, higher for those who had been hospitalized than for those who had not. They said that based on a World Health Organization estimate of 470 million people having been infected, their estimate could mean that around 200 million people are currently experiencing or have already experienced long-term consequences. of the disease. The U.S. Government Accountability Office mentioned recently that between 7.7 million and 23 million Americans could have suffered from long covid so far.
Another insight came from the creation in October 2021 of a diagnosis code for people identified as suffering from long covid. Studying the private health care claims of 75,252 patients tagged with the code, the nonprofit group FAIR Health found that a surprisingly large share of them, three quarters, had not been hospitalized for the virus but still had symptoms of long covid. Additionally, long covid seemed to strike women more often, at 59.8% of the group versus 40.2% for men. Yet another study published in the British medical journal BMJ found that one dose, and even more so two doses of vaccine, reduced the risks of long covid in Britain.
The political implications of the long covid are immense and are only just beginning to emerge. Not only will healthcare systems need to be prepared, but it could also send shockwaves through the workforce as workers seek time off to deal with illness or disability. It could also lead to a mental health crisis as people struggle to cope with their conditions. long covid going to mean a long term.