When a population is unsure of a disease’s lethality, they’re more likely to seek medical intervention following transmission. This gives clinicians ample time to administer the most effective treatments, and academicians a range of patient samples to review ahead of a targeted vaccine.
However, the demographic has grown so large in the short months since the term was coined, it can now be segmented via severity—with some evidencing permanent lung scarring or hearing loss while the remainder experiences provisional neuropathies like shaking and tingles.
A new long-haulers review published in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) addresses the parameters more discreetly:
“This review differs from our previous reviews. We worked with a steering group and a patient reference group who provided us with a broad range of expertise and perspectives. Their insight helped deepen our understanding of the new phenomenon ‘ongoing Covid19’ in people who do not recover after a short period of illness.”
NIHR EVIDENCE: THE MOST COMMON FEATURES OF ONGOING COVID-19
On balance, debilitating fatigue is cited with the most frequency among long-haulers. This is followed by shortness of breath, joint pain, chest pain, a lingering cough, loss of smell, sicca syndrome, runny nose, red eyes, loss of taste, and headaches.
“It is becoming clear that, for some people, Covid-19 infection is a long-term illness,” the report continued. “For some, this is related to their rehabilitation following a hospital admission – but others are reporting life-changing experiences that follow an initial infection that they managed at home, with symptoms becoming more severe over time.”
The classic range of ongoing-COVID-19 characteristics are further dictated by four correlative conditions:
- permanent organ damage to the lungs and heart
- post-intensive-care syndrome
- post-viral fatigue syndrome
- continuing Covid-19 symptoms
Like similarly acting coronaviruses that cause the common cold, SARS-CoV-2 can overactive one’s immune response, which compounds inflammation and organ scarring.
It has been theorized that this process can have a permanent effect on a patient’s immune system. Meaning, at least for some, symptoms that persist after COVID-19 could actually be the result of other infections capitalizing on weakened biological defenses.
“We now know that there are people with no record of having Covid who are suffering more than someone who was ventilated for several weeks,” the authors explained.
“And these debilitating effects on some people could put a “significant burden on the NHS.”
When cases peaked for the first time nationwide back in early April (30,000 new cases, rolling seven-day-average), medical facilities were not adequately positioned to assist patients who completed viral clearance but remained ill.
Outbreaks continued into the summer months, resulting in a new peak of 66,000 new cases recorded on July 19th.
All indications indicate another widely distributed set of outbreaks before the end of the year, elevating the need for prevention data.
Having said that, the authors of the new report concede that there is still a lot to be known about COVID’s pathology. Post-modem analysis has shown that the virus responsible can reside in tissue for extended periods of time. There is evidence to suggest that this is true for living carriers as well.
In the event that transmission yields meaningful disruptions to human anatomy, those who appreciate its seriousness will likely fare better on the other side of medical consensus.
From the CDC’s risk assessment
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.