All over the world, the death and hospitalization rates from COVID keep on falling. But our successful mitigation of the worst consequences of the 33-month-old pandemic belies a growing crisis.
More and more people are surviving COVID and staying out of hospital, but more and more people are Too Living with long-term symptoms of COVID. fatigue. heart problems. stomach problems. Lung problem. Confusion. symptoms that can last for months or a year or more Later The infection clears up.
According to a new study from the City University of New York, 21 percent of Americans who caught the SARS-CoV-2 virus this summer suffered from prolonged COVID-19 that began four weeks after infection.
That’s up from 19 percent in figures reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June.
Compare those numbers to recent rates of death and hospitalization from COVID in the US—three percent and .3 percent, respectively. Long COVID is by far the most severe result from any novel-coronavirus infection. And possibly more is happening.
The CUNY study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, focused on American adults, but the results have implications for the entire world. Globally, long-term symptoms are partly location covid death. After all, more COVID survivors means more people at risk of long-term symptoms. And the longer COVID is cumulative—people get sick and Live ill for some time.
Epidemiologist Dennis Nash, lead author of the CUNY study, told The Daily Beast: “Despite the increased level of protection against chronic COVID from vaccination, it may be that the total number of people with chronic COVID in the US is increasing. ” i.e. more people every day grasp long term covid recover From long COVID.
But understanding the long COVID, say nothing prevent This is not a priority in the global epidemiological establishment. This needs to change, Nash said. “I believe the time has come to focus on long-term COVID in addition to preventing hospitalizations and deaths.”
In recent weeks, authorities have recorded nearly half a million new COVID cases a day around the world. This is not as low as 400,000 new cases a day during the biggest drop in case-rates in February 2021. But it is close.
what is really However, it is remarkable how many of those half-million-a-day COVID infections are fatal. Until recently, just 1,700 people are dying every day – that’s a fifth of the daily death toll in February last year, when the number of new infections every day was only slightly higher.
The number of hospitalizations for severe COVID cases is also low. Global figures are not available, but in the US, COVID hospitalizations have dropped from 15,000 a day 19 months ago to just 3,700 a day now.
The reduction in death and hospitalization rates is not hard to explain. Worldwide, about two-thirds of adults are at least partially vaccinated. Billions of people also have antibodies from previous infections they survived. Every antibody helps to blunt the worst outcomes.
,It is certainly valuable to save lives, but quality of life is also very important.,
But in the long run, the incidence of COVID appears to be ticking upwards. The high re-infection rate may be one reason. Currently, one in six people catch the virus more than once. Repeated infections increase the risk of a variety of problems that, not coincidentally, match prolonged COVID symptoms, according to a team of scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine and the US Veterans Administration’s St. Louis Health Care. The system concludes in a study this summer. , The more re-infections, the longer the COVID.
Reducing the numbers from back in July, Nash’s team concluded that 7 percent of all U.S. adults — that is, more than 18 million people — had chronic COVID-19 at the time. If the same rate applies to the entire world – and there is no reason to believe – the global caseload for long-term COVID could exceed 560 million this summer.
The number is probably much higher now, given the summer spike in infections resulting from BA.5, a million new cases a day worldwide in July.
One thing that surprised Nash and his colleagues is that long-term COVID exposure is not uniform across populations. The CUNY team found that younger people and women are more likely to catch COVID longer. Nash said higher vaccination rates in older adults and seniors may explain the former. But the latter remains a mystery. “Further study of these groups may provide some clues about risk factors,” he said.
Why there is a sex gap in longer COVID exposure is just an unanswered question that scientists and health officials may try to answer. They may also work on new vaccine strategies and public-health messaging, especially for longer COVID.
But by and large, they aren’t doing much to address the risk of long-term symptoms, Nash said. Nearly three years after the COVID pandemic, officials are still extremely focused on preventing hospitalizations and deaths—and Only Preventing hospitalization and deaths.
“Focusing exclusively on these results may worsen the long COVID situation,” Nash explained, “because there is a substantial amount of long-term COVID in people who only had mild or less severe SARS-CoV-2 infections.” Huh.
In this sense, the protracted COVID is a silent crisis. One that potentially affects more than half a billion people, but which is not a major focus of research or public health policy. “It is certainly valuable to save lives, but quality of life is also very important – and may be lacking in people with long-term COVID,” Cindy Prince, an epidemiologist at the University of Florida, told The Daily Beast. .
We are certainly not powerless to stop the protracted COVID. The same tools that could prevent hospitalizations and COVID deaths Too reduce the likelihood of chronic symptoms—by reducing the likelihood of all any COVID, short or long. Get vaccinated Keep your booster on. Wear a mask in crowded indoor places.
But given the growth trend of SARS-CoV-2, protracted COVID-19 could become a bigger and bigger problem even among the most careful – and a problem begging for specific solutions. The virus is still mutating. And each new variant or subtype has become more infectious than the previous, meaning greater success in thorough vaccination and fostering infection.
If you’re currently up to date on your jobs, COVID is less likely to kill you or land you in the hospital. But making you sick from it, potentially for a very long time, is substantial — and apparently getting more.