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Long Covid: ‘Mass disability event’ warning for virus sufferers

A “mass disability event” is already underway on a “really hard to imagine” scale, with one expert warning that thousands of Australians could be forced to leave work.

A Pulitzer Prize winner has warned that a “massive manifestation of disability” is already under way, as the number of those suffering from long-term symptoms after Covid continues to rise.

And the growing crisis could put more pressure on an already distressed Australian healthcare system, as well as force thousands of people to quit their jobs for health reasons.

Ed Yong, science writer at The Atlanticrecounts the symptoms of coronavirus sufferers since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, when the term “long Covid” had not yet been coined.

At that time, tens of thousands of people around the world, known as “long-distance travelers”, began to report debilitating symptoms even after recovering from their original illness.

“I first wrote about them in early June,” Yong said wrote in August 2020.

“Since then, I have received hundreds of messages from people who have been suffering for months – alone, unheard of and confused by relentless and unpredictable symptoms.”

The Washington-based journalist’s collection of work on the long Covid in 2020 earned him the Pulitzer Prize 2021 for Explanatory Reporting.

“Mass Disability Event”

Two years after Yong began reporting on the longtime Covid, he told news.com.au that he continues to receive emails “from people who have been experiencing symptoms since the beginning of the pandemic and others who have started more on this path. . recently”.

He has warned that the huge number of infections seen by Omicron and its predecessors will affect millions of people around the world from a “massive manifestation of disability”.

“Even if you take the most conservative estimates of the percentage of people with Covid who develop long-term symptoms, it still translates to tens of millions of people around the world,” he said.

“Some of these people will recover, but others will be disabled in the near future.

“The scale of such a massive disability event is really hard to imagine and it is scary that we are forced to imagine it because two years later, the long Covid is not counted and many long distance travelers are still ignored. ”

Yong likened long Covid to other “marginalized” diseases.

“The part I want to point out, and I think a lot of people still miss, is that long-term Covid has significant similarities to ME / CFS, dysentery and other chronic, complex, marginalized situations.

“There are not many scientists studying these conditions, but there are, and their work means that we do not start from scratch when it comes to understanding long-term Covid.

“Even many scientists are unaware of this and thus rediscover the wheel.”

More than 200 symptoms

Long Covid has more than 200 different symptoms in 10 related organ systems, according to research was held in Canada late last year.

The most common include persistent debilitating fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, pain, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression.

Other symptoms include muscle weakness and joint pain, stomach and intestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, psychological effects such as mood swings and sensory symptoms such as changes in smell or taste.

People with post-Covid-19 status may also have reduced cognitive and physical functioning, including limitations in the ability to perform daily activities such as dressing or bathing, reduced ability to care for family members or dependents, difficulty returning to work, and increased health care use.

Crazy numbers in Australia

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that about one in four cases develops long-term Covid symptoms for at least a month, and one in 10 develops symptoms that last more than 12 weeks.

In Australia, a study by Martin Hensher, an associate professor of finance and health systems at Deakin University, looked at the 2021 Delta outbreaks in Victoria and NSW, where nearly 140,000 people were already infected.

“It is clear that several people have developed long-term Covid [in Australia] “after the first wave,” he told news.com.au.

“People start to feel better and then often overdo it and relapse.”

Before Omicron, he predicted that combined outbreaks had led to up to 20,000 Australians developing long-term Covid.

Along with a piece for The conversationAssociate Professor Hensher estimated that a limited relaxation of public health measures “could create 10,000 to 34,000 long-term Covid cases”, while a complete relaxation of public health measures “could lead to 60,000 to 133,000 long-term Covid cases”.

Of that number, 2,000 to 11,000 people may still be ill one year after their initial infection.

But these are devaluations in the current climate.

Associate Professor Hensher warned that with the current outbreak in Australia, it was “foolish” to believe that there would be no cases of long-term Covid.

“[It’s] Omicron is likely to behave similarly to previous variants of long-term Covid, because remember, with Delta and the original strain, from what we understand with long Covid, it is quite possible for people with fairly mild infections to continue to develop Covid for a long time.

“I think it would be foolish to assume that we will not have significant long-term Covid cases arising from this,” he said.

“There are so many people getting sick that this kind of arithmetic will collapse.”

Australia is not ready

Associate Professor Hensher warned that Australia was already battling the pressure of the recent Omicron outbreak and was facing further turmoil due to long-term Covid.

“We are talking about hundreds of thousands of people [potentially affected]”but they will be presented to the health system that is already trying to tap the water and not suffer the effects of the Covid wave itself,” he told news.com.au.

“The problem with long-term Covid is that these are people who would not otherwise be sick, so there is a whole new set of health care demand for people who really would not need health care at a point where the system is under incredible strain or strain. to recover from this incredibly stressful period we are going through right now

“It will be very difficult and I think we will probably start to see stories of frustrating people who do not receive real support and are left to fend for themselves, but the problem is that now we will see them in potentially large numbers.

“I think you will see more people being forced out of the job market for health reasons.

“You will see people who can not return to work

“After Omicron, if we start to see more people with long-term Covid, you will see people being forced to leave the job market.

“It will be another pressure on wages and labor and it will also add to government spending, because you will have people who will need welfare or disability benefits.”

What does the Government say?

The Ministry of Health told news.com.au: “The synthesis and interpretation of long-term Covid data will require ongoing collaboration between academia and governments to inform decision-making at all levels.

“The Australian Government is actively monitoring the emerging investigation into the long Covid.”

You can read the government full statement at news.com.au. here.

Are you a “distant traveler”? Share your story – Youngma@news.com.au

Originally published as Mass Disability Warning as Huge Numbers Diagnosed with Long Covid

Long Covid: ‘Mass disability event’ warning for virus sufferers Source link Long Covid: ‘Mass disability event’ warning for virus sufferers

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