Growing number of people facing lingering long covid symptoms
Thousands of long Covid patients across the globe are urging their governments to provide more help for the growing number of people facing lingering symptoms after infection.
At least 90 long Covid groups exist around the world in 34 countries. Most are pushing for more research, improved clinical treatments and increased access to disability benefits, while others offer support and advice.
The growing effort comes as new research suggests there are hundreds of millions of people likely suffering from long Covid and as some experts warn of potentially severe long-term economic and public health impacts of a condition that is still poorly understood.
Governments worldwide quickly mobilized to slow early Covid-19 infections, but patients stuck with long-term, debilitating symptoms from the virus — sometimes left unable to work or perform basic daily tasks — feel national and international responses have ignored one of the pandemic’s most significant effects, nearly a dozen activists in 10 countries told POLITICO.
“We are just left to rot,” said Chantal Britt, founder and president of Long Covid Switzerland. “That’s why all those organizations are popping up: There is no official help.”
Some studies suggest long Covid could affect as much as 30 percent of people who are infected — a fact that is not often publicly discussed when governments talk about which preventive measures are appropriate at this stage of the pandemic. The long-term effects of the virus could disable enough people to even have global economic impacts researchers worry.
And while the U.S. has invested more than $1 billion to better understand the disease, patients in America and beyond — where most countries are investing less — feel confused and ignored as their numbers grow.
Many advocates, who spend their days lobbying governments, are also patients contending with a range of symptoms, including extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, diarrhea and heart palpitations.