New data recently released by the World Health Organization has detailed the extent to which the lives of those with long Covid are being destroyed.
The WHO has been working with patient groups, researchers and clinicians since the Covid pandemic began in 2020, and has been conducting as much research as possible into the effects and causes of long Covid.
Long Covid has been defined as when a person who contracted Covid-19 has since gone on to have lingering symptoms that they cannot seem to shake off. The main symptoms that people suffer with are shortness of breath after the simplest of tasks, intense fatigue, and brain fog.
Although it can affect anyone, recent studies from the WHO have shown that women are twice as likely as men to develop long Covid, and those who have been hospitalised from Covid are also more likely to experience prolonged symptoms.
Those who suffer from long Covid say that it has completely changed the way they live their lives, and it is affecting everything from simple daily tasks to their focus at work.
At the moment, data from the WHO only accounts from countries in the developed world, which means a full picture of the effects of long Covid across the world are still unclear.
It is currently being suggested that tens of millions, and perhaps more, have contracted long Covid since 2020, and roughly 15% of those people have experienced symptoms for at least 12 months.
A paper published by Anne Timoney in January of this year estimated that in Ireland, a minimum of 115,000 people are experiencing long Covid. Support groups and Facebook groups have been set up across the country, to help those suffering from long Covid to feel less alone.
In an open letter published by The Guardian, the director general of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has urged everyone to do all that they can to support those living with long Covid, and to find a recovery path forward for them.
“It’s also critical for health professionals to communicate that although the road to recovery may be long and frustrating at times, people do get better,” he noted.
He has also insisted that more research and funding needs to be invested into the issue, and that everyone should continue to do what they can to keep the spread of Covid at bay.
“On behalf of the scientific community, health workers and the patients with long Covid WHO has worked with, I urge all leaders to seriously ramp up support so that we can minimise the suffering and improve the health of those affected so they can return to living their fullest lives,” he concluded.