Millions of Americans Impacted by ‘Long COVID’

Millions of Americans Impacted by ‘Long COVID’ | Healthcare 360 Magazine

In a staggering revelation, millions of Americans find themselves ensnared by the persistent grip of a condition known as Long COVID. Disturbingly, some individuals grappling with the aftermath of COVID-19 report feeling neglected by their physicians, struggling to secure the assistance they desperately need. Recent studies propose that the lingering presence of the virus within the bodies of these patients may be the root cause of their enduring symptoms.

The Ongoing Struggle: Long COVID’s Pervasive Impact

“The burden of Long COVID is on par with the burden of cancer and heart disease,” remarked Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, Chief of Research and Education Service at Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System.

Addressing the urgency of the matter, Congress convened a hearing last week specifically focused on Long COVID. The latest hypothesis from researchers points towards viral persistence, indicating that the COVID-19 virus embeds itself not only in the lungs but throughout the entire body.

Insights from Autopsies: Tracing the Virus’s Trail

“The virus can be in their lung tissue or in the tissue of the gut, even when they test negative via the standard nasal swab test,” explained Dr. Amy Proal, President of the Polybio Research Foundation. “There’s been persistent viral RNA and protein found in the taste bud tissue of people with loss of taste.”

Dr. Daniel Chertow, Head of the Emerging Pathogens Section at the National Institute of Health’s Clinical Center, conducted autopsies on unvaccinated patients with acute COVID symptoms. His findings revealed a widespread distribution of the virus in acute fatal cases, reaching even the brain and displaying the capability to replicate in this vital organ.

Long COVID affecting millions of Americans

Patients’ Advocacy: Seeking Recognition and Treatment

Moreover, Dr. Chertow expressed optimism that this research could shed light on the persistence of the virus and its potential role in contributing to the symptoms of Long COVID.

As researchers delve into the root causes of Long COVID, individuals grappling with this debilitating condition lament the difficulty they face in obtaining proper assistance.

“We still don’t have the care we need or access to the care we need in rural settings,” shared Tammy Wilshire, a Long COVID patient.

Feeling ignored by physicians, many Long COVID patients are turning to online support groups, forming a community where self-advocacy in medical settings is encouraged.

“Who would know where to ask for a neuropsychology evaluation? Doctors don’t know that, like we have to tell them,” emphasized Georgia Linders, another Long COVID patient.

Some find solace in specialized Long-COVID clinics, such as the one at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Dr. Alba Azola, formerly part of the Johns Hopkins post-acute COVID-19 team, revealed that most of her patients had consulted at least ten physicians before seeking assistance from Long-COVID experts.

In the midst of these struggles, Dr. Daniel Park, an epidemiologist and research scientist at George Washington University, stressed the continued importance of vaccines.

“Vaccines are still critical because that lowers your probability of becoming infected and lowers your chance of having Long COVID even after you’re infected,” affirmed Dr. Park.

With another surge in respiratory illnesses anticipated in the Midwest, individuals grappling with Long COVID hold onto hope, yearning for a brighter and healthier future.

Find practical solutions to common challenges through our insightful articles on Healthcare 360 Magazine

Most Popular Stories