'"I just don't know what is wrong with me, but something is off, and I am so
forgetful. I feel like I have dementia," a good friend said to me recently. I
recalled that she had been sick with COVID-19 this past year.
I remembered her illness well because I had been very concerned about her. In
fact, having recently observed my third anniversary of symptoms that were later
determined to be long COVID, it has been particularly hard these past few years
to witness those I care about letting their guard down and catching this virus.
Long COVID, also known as post-acute sequelae of COVID (PASC) or post-COVID-19
syndrome, has been defined as a constellation of symptoms, not explained by
other diagnoses, that start during or after an infection consistent with
SARS-CoV-2 virus and last for 12 weeks or longer. Symptoms can include severe
fatigue, cognitive issues described as "brain fog," dizziness, palpitations,
cough, chest pressure, dyspnea on exertion, post-exertional malaise,
neuropathic pain, headaches, and/or muscle aches. Approximately 6.1% of U.S.
adults are currently suffering and 15.5% have ever had some form of this
condition. Long COVID symptoms seem to disproportionately impact women and
individuals with a disability. In addition, higher rates of significant
activity limitations from long COVID symptoms were initially noted in Black,
Hispanic, and multiracial individuals, most likely due to ongoing health access
and care disparities.
When I reminded my friend of her prior COVID infection and the known risk of
cognitive issues and long COVID, she looked confused and said, "But I was
vaccinated, and my symptoms were so mild."
Why are so many people failing to consider that their new forgetfulness,
persistent cough, unexplained anxiety and depression, or their crushing fatigue
after engaging in normal exercise might be related to their case of COVID-19?
Why are people not taking the risk of long COVID seriously? And perhaps the
most important question for us as medical professionals: Are we ready to care
for millions suffering from long COVID for the long haul?'
Via Violet Blue’s Pandemic Roundup
: May 18, 2023
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics