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Some people who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience long-term effects from their infection, known as post-COVID conditions (PCC) or long COVID. People call post-COVID conditions by many names, including: long COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, post-acute sequelae of SARS CoV-2 infection (PASC), long-term effects of COVID, and chronic COVID.
Researchers have said, “We are still learning how long the illness lasts and it varies between people. It’s important to note that lasting effects aren’t unique to Covid-19 – other viral illnesses can also have lasting effects.” The study led by Leicester researchers described above suggests that among those who needed hospital treatment for the initial illness, it is common for it to last five months or more, and there are separate reports of it lasting 12 months or more (this includes both people who didn’t need hospital treatment initially and those who did.)
People who experience post-COVID conditions most commonly report:
Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort (also known as “post-exertional malaise”)
Respiratory and heart symptoms
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
Dizziness when you stand up (lightheadedness)
Change in smell or taste
Depression or anxiety
Joint or muscle pain
Changes in menstrual cycles
According to a recent Brookings Institution report, The pandemic continues to cast a shadow over the workforce. Long Covid, a combination of symptoms that emerge months or even years after recovering from the virus, is keeping up to 4 million Americans from working, according to a new study.
The report finds that about 16 million working-age Americans (between the ages of 18 and 65) have long Covid today.
People suffering from long Covid face a range of symptoms that can make it challenging to work, including brain fog, anxiety, depression, fatigue and breathing problems. Brookings estimates that 2 to 4 million people are out of work due to long Covid. The midpoint of that range — 3 million full-time equivalent workers — represents a sizable 1.8% of the entire US civilian labor force, the report said.
The CDC is working to:
Better identify the most frequent symptoms and diagnoses experienced by patients with post-COVID conditions.
Better understand how many people are affected by post-COVID conditions, and how often people who are infected with COVID-19 develop post-COVID conditions afterwards.
Better understand risk factors, including which groups might be more at risk, and if different groups experience different symptoms.
Help understand how post-COVID conditions limit or restrict people’s daily activity.
Help identify groups that have been more affected by post-COVID conditions, lack access to care and treatment for post-COVID conditions, or experience stigma.
Better understand the role vaccination plays in preventing post-COVID conditions.
Collaborate with professional medical groups to develop and offer clinical guidance and other educational materials for healthcare providers, patients, and the public.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The British Heart Foundation, The Guardian, CNN.