Long COVD and the future

This is a great article by Ed Yong on long COVID. I wish all the people saying, “But the mortality rate is less than 1%” could be forced to read this. Also the article highlights some of the disconnects between academic science and patient care and the ethical issues this raises.

Despite long-haulers’ fight for recognition, any discussion of the pandemic still largely revolves around two extremes—good health at one end, and hospitalization or death at the other. This ignores the hinterland of disability that lies in between, where millions of people are already stuck, and where many more may end up. The coronavirus is here to stay, and even as vaccines diminish the threat of hospitalization and death, we don’t know yet how well they will protect against the disability of long COVID. The choice we make about how to study this condition will define the toll that SARS-CoV-2 takes for years to come.

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Excellent article. It brings up a lot of points, but one that seems to impress me is that this is something we have seen before. Throughout my medical career, similar syndromes have come up and given different names. Some are listed in the article, but ones that have been prominent are chronic Epstein-Barr, chronic Lyme, fibromyalgia, generalized environmental allergies. and the like. It seems that there may be a common thread between many of these diseases of dysfunction that is “real.” And while no less real, there is a big overlap of functional psychiatric disease where we often see people develop similar problems unrelated to a prior infection. I personally have a friend whose “chronic Lyme” was “cured” with therapy and antidepressants after spending tens of thousands on quack treatments.
Which brings up the problem that unscrupulous therapy clinics are bound to rise up to fleece the unsuspecting of whatever money they have left, targeting the affluent. I would encourage anyone seeking treatment of what seems a very real disease to do your homework, and go to centers involved in legitimate research associated with major institutions. That way you can not only be assured your interests are protected, but can contribute to the greater good by expanding the knowledge of this condition.

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