A new report highlights the severity of long Covid

One of the nation's leading medical advisory organizations has weighed in on long-term Covid with a 265-page report that recognizes the severity and persistence of the condition for millions of Americans.

More than four years into the coronavirus pandemic, long Covid continues to harm many people's ability to function, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, a nongovernmental institution that advises federal agencies on subject of science and medicine.

“Long Covid can impact people across the lifespan, from children to older adults, as well as across sex, gender, racial, ethnic and other demographic groups,” he said, concluding that “the Long Covid is associated with a wide range of new or worsening health conditions and includes more than 200 symptoms involving almost all organ systems.

Here are some of the findings from the National Academies, compiled by a committee of 14 doctors and researchers:

The report cites 2022 data suggesting that nearly 18 million adults and nearly one million children in the United States have had long-term Covid. At the time of the survey, approximately 8.9 million adults and 362,000 children had the condition.

Surveys have shown that the prevalence of long Covid fell in 2023 but, for unclear reasons, rose this year. In January, data showed that nearly 7% of adults in the United States had long-term Covid.

There is still no standardized way to diagnose the condition and no definitive treatment to cure it. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to rehabilitation, and each individual will need a program tailored to their complex needs,” the National Academies said, advising that doctors should not require patients to have a positive coronavirus test to be diagnosed. with long Covid.

The report says some of the most bothersome symptoms – such as brain fog and chronic fatigue – can prevent people from returning to work and should make them eligible for disability payments, even though their symptoms may not fall into current disability categories of the Social Security Administration.

“Long-term Covid can result in the inability to return to work (or school for children and adolescents), poor quality of life, reduced ability to carry out activities of daily living, and decreased physical and cognitive function for a period ranging from six months to two years or more,” the report says.

People who become more seriously ill from the initial coronavirus infection are more likely to have long-term symptoms. Those who were sick enough to be admitted to hospital were two to three times more likely to develop long Covid.

But, the report says, “even individuals with a mild initial course of the disease can develop long-term Covid with serious health effects.” And “given the much higher number of people with mild disease compared to severe disease, they make up the large majority of people with long Covid”.

Women are about twice as likely to develop long Covid. Other risk factors include not being adequately vaccinated against the coronavirus, having pre-existing medical conditions or disabilities, and smoking.

Children are less likely than adults to develop long-term Covid and are more likely to recover from it, but some children “have persistent or intermittent symptoms which can reduce their quality of life” and “result in increased school absences and a decrease in academic participation and achievement.” , sports and other social activities,” the report states.

Some people recover with time, and there is evidence that after a year, many people's symptoms have diminished. But some research suggests that recovery slows or levels off after the first year, the report said.

Because long-term Covid varies so widely from person to person and affects so many body systems, each case must be addressed individually.

For some people, “returning to work too early may result in a deterioration of health and a gradual return to work plan may be advised,” the report says, especially for people with post-exertional malaise, a symptom involving lack of energy or setbacks after performing activities that involve physical or mental effort.

Employers may need to offer accommodations to returning employees, such as allowing them to take frequent breaks or work remotely.

“Covid-19 appears to be a chronic disease, with few patients achieving complete remission,” the report states.

Some symptoms are similar to those of other conditions that emerge following infections, including myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.

The biological cause of the symptoms is unclear. Theories include inflammation, remaining virus fragments and immune system dysregulation.

Long Covid presents more obstacles for people who face economic challenges or discrimination because of their race or ethnicity, where they live or the level of education they have.

Such patients may face more skepticism about their symptoms, may be less able to take time off from work, and may live further from clinics or long-term Covid treatment programs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *