Scientists: Long-haul COVID could be next public health crisis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Concerns about long-haul COVID are growing within the medical and scientific communities with some saying it could be the nation’s next public health disaster.

This is according to authors of a new article published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Long-haul COVID is a syndrome where someone experiences COVID-19 symptoms weeks or even months after infection and recovery. These people are referred to as long-haulers.

Symptoms of long-haul COVID include chronic fatigue, confusion and inflammation as well as other ailments that negatively affect a person’s quality of life. Data suggests between 10% and 30% of people who contract COVID-19 will get long-haul COVID, which can last weeks or months. For some people, they are still suffering over a year later.

Not only do long-haulers suffer physically, mentally and emotionally, but scientists predict the current health care system could be upended.

“Our medical system is going to struggle with this,” Dr. Amy Beth Kressel, an infectious disease specialist at Eskenazi Health, told News 8. “Because more people who are sick and who need care for the long haul and the lack of understanding and knowledge of what the best thing to do is. We’re talking about a significantly added burden to the health care system.”

The authors of the paper echo Kressel’s sentiment.

“Addressing this post-infection condition effectively is bound to be an extended and complex endeavor for the health care system and society as well as for affected patients themselves,” they write. “Unless we proactively develop a health care framework and strategy based on unified, patient-centric, supportive principles, we will leave millions of patients in the turbulent breach.”


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