The document summarizes what is known so far about “long-term COVID” and how countries are dealing with this condition, whose unpleasant symptoms include extreme fatigue and increased damage to the heart, lungs and brain.
Struggling to be taken seriously
Dr Hans Kluge, Regional Director of the World Health Organization, said the long-running Coronavirus is an additional cause for concern amid the pandemic, which has already caused tremendous suffering.
Long-term COVID is not fully understood, but available data indicate that nearly a quarter of people experience symptoms four to five weeks after they test positive. Corona VirusAbout 1 in 10 continues to have symptoms after 12 weeks
Patients, including medical professionals, struggle to be taken seriously. They reported feeling stigmatized, unable to obtain a diagnosis, and receiving “disjointed” care, while also facing problems obtaining health and disability benefits.
Involve patients in research and response
The policy brief highlights areas of work, including by developing “new pathways of care”, establishing appropriate services, and addressing broader consequences such as labor rights, sick pay policies, and access to disability benefits.
Patient records and other surveillance measures need to be implemented, and research into post-COVID situations must be conducted in collaboration with patients and caregivers.
“The longstanding COVID virus has demonstrated the importance of engaging patients in research,” said Dr. Selena Rajan, lead author of the policy brief.
“Nevertheless, much remains to be understood about the long-term and multi-system consequences of COVID-19 infection in children and adults, and the interventions required to treat it.”