The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic feels mostly over for a lot of people, especially for those who caught the virus and recovered without suffering any serious consequences. But an increasing number of studies show that “long COVID” — a range of conditions that can last for weeks, months, years (or indefinitely) after developing COVID-19 — is a real phenomenon affecting millions of people who had the disease, whether they were vaccinated or not. As many as 1 in 13 adults in the United States who developed COVID-19, even those with mild symptoms, suffer from ongoing heart palpitations, dizziness, brain fog, shortness of breath, reduced ability to taste and smell and cognitive impairment, according to the CDC. Some suffer from one or two of these symptoms or several, and with varying degrees of severity. In debilitating cases, some people have adjusted their work schedules, taken time off work or quit their jobs, which is perhaps an overlooked factor in the “great resignation.”

But people who suffer from long COVID also tend to not talk about it very often or even seek care to treat it because it isn’t widely recognized. This still includes many medical professionals, especially those already inclined to diagnose patients with “anxiety” or other fallback diagnoses when the real cause of suffering isn’t immediately obvious. Some people even still argue that long COVID isn’t a real condition, and is instead a result of poor health choices or underlying conditions that predated a person’s illness. But long COVID has been shown to affect the old as well as the young, the infirm as well as the strong — from people who are overweight to endurance athletes. All of which is to say that “long COVID” carries with it a certain stigma, even at this early stage.

(1) comment

anon anon

Is your reporter looking to speak with a previously healthy, active, productive, young person now debilitated by long COVID? I was interviewed by Sol about this time last year, and things have progressed (i.e. not gotten better), and I’d love to remind people that long COVID is indeed a real risk of even a mild infection. If it can take me down, it can do the same to you.

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