Long-Haul COVID: ‘Next Health Disaster’

S Phillips, MA Wiliams. NEJM 2021; 385: 577-579. Open Access: Confronting Our Next National Health Disaster — Long-Haul Covid

A few excerpts:

  • Factoring in new infections in unvaccinated people, we can conservatively expect more than 15 million cases of long Covid resulting from this pandemic. And though data are still emerging, the average age of patients with long Covid is about 40, which means that the majority are in their prime working years.
  • Long Covid is not a condition for which there are currently accepted objective diagnostic tests or biomarkers…The health care community, the media, and most people with long Covid have treated this syndrome as an unexpected new phenomenon. But given the long arc and enigmatic history of “new” postinfection syndromes, the emergence of long Covid should not be surprising.
  • Equally unsurprising has been the medical community’s ambivalence about recognizing long Covid as a legitimate disease or syndrome…If the past is any guide, they will be disbelieved, marginalized, and shunned by many members of the medical community…Some of the disregard can be attributed to the fact that long Covid has disproportionately affected women.
  • The ultimate success of the research-and-development and clinical management agendas in ameliorating the impending catastrophe is critically dependent on health care providers’ believing and providing supportive care to their patients. These beleaguered patients deserve to be afforded legitimacy, clinical scrutiny, and empathy.

My take: It is unfortunate that many cases of long-haul Covid that will develop could be prevented with vaccination

Causeway Trail in Burlington VT (adjacent to Lake Champlain)