Opinion | Lengthy Covid is a Looming Well being Disaster

Most of the existing Covid-19 recovery data is piecemeal. A large part of this comes from patient groups such as ours or country-specific studies.

Even so, these early studies have provided some insight into what Covid-19 recoveries might look like. In a non-peer-reviewed online survey conducted by our patient-led research collaboration among 3,762 patients with long-term Covid in 56 countries, respondents said they continued to have an average of 14 symptoms after six months.

Eighty-eight percent of people reported cognitive problems, such as memory loss, which in many cases impaired their ability to work, had conversations with others, followed or followed medication plans. There was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of these symptoms and their effects across age groups.

Other data suggest that around one in four people between the ages of 25 and 69 remain symptomatic five weeks after testing positive for the virus, according to the UK’s National Statistics Office. According to a Dutch and Belgian study, thirty-one percent of those out of the hospital said they would depend on others for care about three months after being infected.

A fuller tracking of Covid-Long is critical to understanding the full implications of Covid-19 and to making decisions about funding research into long-term symptoms. Diseases and conditions that are considered “rare” are often not studied as thoroughly.

We have already seen this with myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. Because ME / CFS, as it is also known, is difficult to diagnose, many patients have not been counted and research into treatments and cures remains underfunded compared to other diseases. As a result, clinicians tend to be under-trained and patients are less likely to receive adequate care and government support. There is a risk that this cycle will repeat itself in people with long Covid.

Some government groups seem to be listening. Thanks in large part to patient advocacy efforts, Congress recently allocated $ 1.15 billion to the National Institutes of Health to aid research into Long Covid. This includes efforts to collect blood, tissue, and other samples from patients and a comprehensive list of symptoms, and is an important step in the right direction. However, the results will not be available quickly enough to affect reopening guidelines or meet the urgent needs of existing patients.

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