This is the "Most Common" Problem After Getting COVID, Says Expert
COVID-19 has become something we have to learn to live with. Although health experts are reluctant to call it an endemic disease, that's how many local officials are treating it, dropping preventative health policies like mask mandates and vaccine requirements for entry to events. Although the disease has certainly become more treatable, thanks to vaccines and antiviral medications, a significant risk remains, no matter how serious your case of COVID may be. This is an increasingly common problem of having COVID. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Mild COVID May Not End Up So Mild
A new report in the New York Times indicates that 10 to 30 percent of people infected with COVID-19 will go on to develop "long COVID," a wide set of symptoms—including respiratory issues, fatigue, and neurological symptoms like brain fog—that linger for months after the virus has cleared the body and can range in effect from inconvenient to debilitating. The General Accounting Office estimates that anywhere between 8 million and 23 million Americans have developed long COVID. Long COVID has been known about since the early months of the pandemic. What may be surprising: a new study found that in one survey, 75% of people who developed long COVID had relatively mild illness—they never got sick enough to be hospitalized—and most of them were in the prime of their lives.
What the Study Found
The study, conducted by a nonprofit group focused on healthcare costs, analyzed tens of thousands of private health insurance claims from the first four months after a special code was created to designate a long COVID-related health issue, from October 2021 to January 2022.
"The new study adds to a growing body of evidence that, while patients who have been hospitalized are at greater risk for long COVID, people with mild or moderate initial coronavirus infections — who make up the vast majority of coronavirus patients — can still experience debilitating post-COVID symptoms including breathing problems, extreme fatigue and cognitive and memory issues," the Times said.
The study also found that
- Women were more likely than men to be diagnosed with long COVID-related health issues. Women accounted for 60% of the study group with that diagnosis, and men 40%.
- People aged 36 to 50 were most likely to be diagnosed with long COVID conditions.
- The most common long COVID issues reported included breathing abnormalities, cough, and malaise or fatigue.
Although nearly two-thirds of people who reported long COVID symptoms had pre-existing conditions. But nearly one-third did not—they were previously healthy.
What This Means
"The findings suggest a potentially staggering impact of long COVID on people in the prime of their lives, and on society at large," the Times said.
Last December, Congress earmarked $1.5 billion over four years for the National Institutes of Health to study long COVID. At a White House briefing in February, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, referred to reports that 30 percent of people infected with COVID-19 may develop long COVID "somewhat alarming."
Studies have found that being vaccinated reduces the risk of long COVID, even after you've been infected.
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.