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What we now know about COVID long haul carriers

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Obviously, when we think about the consequences of COVID-19, we think of death first. And so far, 2,250 people have died of COVID in this state.

Next, let’s think about hospitalization. People who need to go to the hospital and never die afterwards. We have over 18,000 of them, or about one for every 175 Utahn. A local comparison that might look at it is that it means that on average one to three people were hospitalized per Latter-day Saint Ward.

After them are long-distance carriers: people who are infected with COVID-19 and have to deal with their symptoms for a long time, with or without hospitalization. These people are not as frequent as deaths and hospitalizations in our statistics, but they are still important.

They are also spoken in almost mythical language. Even scientific literature can show this trend. “Currently, there is no accepted case definition for symptoms or long durations of COVID, so it is difficult to estimate the prevalence or characteristics of this new condition.” One treatise Write. Trying to understand a long COVID can feel like trying to nail a Jell-O to a wall.

But there is good news. Over the last few weeks, we have conducted an honest and quality study of what will happen to people with the long-term effects of COVID. Let’s dig into it.

What are the symptoms?

One of the central difficulties in studying long-term COVID is the number of different symptoms that people report as a result of their illness, especially when asked online. for example, One study In an online survey, we asked 3,762 long-term COVID respondents from 56 countries whether they faced 271 different symptoms.

When you do this, people will say they are facing a huge array of those symptoms. Over 95% of them reported fatigue. About 80% reported shortness of breath. 50% reported hypersensitivity. 30% reported itching of the skin. Twenty-five percent reported that they were more angry than before. 10% reported developing new allergies. 5% reported a decrease in penis size. (The researchers weren’t asked, so they didn’t answer what percentage reported an increase in penis size.)

This is why scientific research requires a control group. This is to find out how it feels by comparing those who are ill with those who are not. And unfortunately, the control group was fairly rare for long COVID studies.and Nature review Of the 24 long COVID studies conducted by April, 5 had a control group.

Study from England But it was one of those studies. Researchers compare responses from public health workers (by the way, pools who may know how to better diagnose symptoms) and can occur in workers who had COVID 19 months ago. Found that there are three categories of very high symptoms compared to those who did not.

They are:

• Sensory symptoms: taste, smell, loss of appetite, or blurred vision.

• Neurological symptoms: forgetfulness, short-term memory loss or confusion / brain fog.

• Cardiopulmonary symptoms: chest tightness or pain, abnormal malaise, shortness of breath after minimal exertion, or palpitation.

They showed no difference between the groups in that they had dermatological, gynecological, gastrointestinal or mental health symptoms.

How many people get a long COVID?

These studies in the control group can be used to determine what percentage of COVID patients will eventually have long-term symptoms, even after the test is negative. Naturally, I would like to classify by the severity of early COVID.

For inpatients, ongoing symptoms are very common.That’s the topic I’ve seen Back in November.. In general, various studies have shown that 50% to 90% of these patients have symptoms that last for more than 2 months.

For patients with milder to moderate COVID, the percentage is much lower. English studies of healthcare professionals were included in this group. 3% of respondents had persistent symptoms, and an additional 11% had regular symptoms.

NS Swedish study We did the same thing as the English study, comparing healthcare professionals with and without mild COVID. Researchers found that 26% of COVID workers vs. 9% of non-COVID workers reported at least one moderate to severe symptomatology that lasted for at least two months of the study. In addition, 15% vs. 3% reported that at least one moderate to severe symptom lasted for at least 8 months.

Not surprisingly, we are worried about the potential impact of COVID on many people, especially children who are not vaccinated. Swiss Researchers saw a group of 2,500 children, And again compared those infected with COVID with those not infected with COVID.Interestingly, the percentage of people who actually said they had symptoms small In the infected group, 9% to 10% after 1 month. However, after 12 months, 4% of infected people had symptoms compared to 2% of non-infected people.

Its lower number is consistent with several other studies on children who have found that the frequency of persistent side effects is relatively low. NS COVID symptomatology study Approximately 1,700 children tested positive, 1.8% of whom reported ongoing symptoms. In contrast, 0.9% of children tested positive. The Australian study also tracked 151 children infected with COVID in Australia. I got you There were no ongoing symptoms after 9 months.

What are the risk factors for long COVID?

One study We examined 3,357 adults diagnosed with long-term COVID in the United Kingdom and compared them to an audience with a common COVID. Not surprisingly, age was a factor. Poor mental or physical health before the pandemic was a risk factor, and people with asthma were at higher risk.

Perhaps surprisingly, being a woman was also a risk factor. Men are more likely to die during this pandemic, but women are more likely to have longer symptoms. And interestingly, Caucasians were much more likely to be diagnosed with long-term COVID, despite the minority generally facing the burden of heavy hospitalization and death. It can be a sign of what is actually happening, or a sign of injustice in the UK diagnostic process.

What’s really happening here from a medical point of view?

First, keep in mind that the long-term effects of the virus have been known to us for some time. overview The Royal College of General Practitioner Journal for “Postviral Syndrome” in May 1987 stated: It can last for months or even years. It sounds like a long COVID.

In addition, the symptoms are well matched. In the years before and after with other viruses like influenza, although not enough, what we have studied is a known diagnosis.

And there is solid data that it will happen. For example, a study at the University of Calgary examined 62 athletes who had a cold. 48% of them found Inflammation of the heart at a follow-up visit after 4 weeks.

It is also known that COVID is now more proficient than most other viruses than influenza and colds between organ systems. That is what caused all of the various strange COVID symptoms seen at the beginning of the pandemic. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that COVID is more likely to cause postviral syndrome with non-respiratory consequences than most of the viruses we are accustomed to.

There are two types of errors to be aware of when understanding what is really happening here. What we have already discussed: Knowledge that some people associate irrelevant or previously occurring symptoms with COVID, essentially because it is all anger now.

But we also need to remember the other end of the spectrum. Doctors dismiss the patient’s very realistic symptoms because it is difficult to understand the problem they are facing. And to be honest, that also happens.

The actual reasons for these symptoms are currently under intense debate among those who have been studying COVID for a long time. Some believe this is because a small amount of persistent coronavirus remains in long-haul carriers, causing immune fatigue. Others attribute it to autonomic imbalance, when the virus begins to affect the nervous system. The third group believes that the effects of the virus on the cardiovascular system and the resulting symptoms of inflammation or coagulation can be chalked out. It may be the confluence of these factors.

This week’s study Journal of Clinical Immunology I also found an interesting link. People with long COVIDs had COVIDs and generally had relatively lower antibody levels than those who recovered. Therefore, some believe that boosting the immune response by vaccination or injection of external antibodies may be a reasonable idea to help long-term COVID patients. More research is needed.

This is one of the exciting things about all the attention that continues to be the focus of the long COVID. This will give you a better understanding of the common postviral syndrome. Effective treatment options, and perhaps even treatments, will be logical endpoints. New perspectives and money for research will almost certainly help our problems.

Hey, you might understand how to put a long COVID Jell-O in a bowl instead of nailing it to the wall — put it in and let it cool. Please promise. Please do not bring this Jell-O with you.

Andy Larsen, one of the Salt Lake Tribune’s Utah Jazz beatwriters, is also a data columnist.You can reach him at [email protected]..

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