I’m still afraid of getting COVID. As a young, healthy, bilaterally augmented physician, I no longer had to worry about ending up strapped to a ventilator, but it does seem plausible that even a mild case of illness could shorten my life, or leave me with chronic fatigue, trouble breathing, and brain fog. severely one in 10 Americans seem to share my concern, including many doctors. Doctor Ezekiel Emmanuel wrote last May in Washington Post. “Like everyone, I want this pandemic nightmare to end. But I am also very afraid to live a life exhausted from mental confusion or mental lethargy.”
Lately, I’ve begun to think our fears might be in a better shape. As the pandemic continues, data has emerged to illustrate the risks posed by COVID over the weeks, months, and years following infection. Taken together, their effects are amazing. Some people’s lives Destroyed by COVID long; They are trapped by baffling symptoms that seem to persist indefinitely. However, for the majority of vaccinated people, the worst complications will not appear in the early stage of the disease, when you first feel fever and depression, and the most serious “long-term” risks cannot be said to be. Instead, they appear during Center The post-infection phase, which is an extension of about 12 weeks after you became ill. This period of time is so dangerous, in fact, that it must have had a familiar name of its own: the medium COVID.
How much of a threat does the average COVID pose? The answer is obscured, to some extent, by unclear definitions. Lots of studies mix dire different findings into one giant bucket called the “long COVID.” Diseases that appear in less than four weeks, along with those that appear after several months, are considered one and the same. For example, the CDC suggested in a study last spring that One in five adults Those who contract the virus will suffer from 26 medical complications, starting at least a month after infection, and extending up to one year. All of these cases are called “post-COVID cases, or long-term COVID cases.” A series of influential analyzes looking at American veterans have described a new offensive heartAnd the the kidneysAnd the brain diseases (even between to feed) over a similar wide time period. The authors of the studies refer to these, taken together, as “the protracted COVID and its myriad complications.”
But the risks described above may only be more significant in the first few weeks after infection, and fade over time. When scientists analyzed the National Health Registry in Sweden, for example, they found that the chance of developing a pulmonary embolism — an often fatal clot in the lungs — was staggering. 32 times higher in the first month after testing for the virus; After that, it quickly diminished. Thrombosis was only twice more common 60 days after injury, and the effect was indistinguishable from baseline three to four months later. Post-injury risk Heart attack and stroke He was also straightforward, and just as quickly dismissed. In July, UK epidemiologists supported The Swedish results showed that a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease among COVID patients could be detected for up to 12 weeks after their illness. Then the danger went away.
All this is to be expected, given the other Respiratory infections They are known to temporarily raise patients’ risk of cardiovascular disease. Blood clots after a virus, heart attacks, and strokes tend to explode like a summer storm. very modern paper in the magazine Rotation, also based on UK data, found that the effects of COVID are longer lasting, with an increased chance of such events lasting about a full year. But even in that study, the authors find that the risks are significantly reduced within the first two weeks. I have read now dozens From similar AnalyticsAnd the Use data From many Countries that agree on this basic point: The biggest risks lie in the weeks, not the months, after contracting the coronavirus.
However, many have concluded that the dangers of the coronavirus are endless. “What’s particularly concerning is that these are really lifelong conditions,” said Ziad Al-Ali, principal investigator for veterans studies. financial times in August. Cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic has I suggested Having SARS-CoV-2 may become a greater contributor to cardiovascular disease than being a chronic smoker or obese. But if the experts who make that assumption are right — and the deadly risks of COVID really last a lifetime (or even several months) — then it’s not yet visible across the health system. By the end of last winter’s omicron wave, one in four Americans – about 84 million people – have been newly infected with the coronavirus. This was in addition to the 103 million previous Omicron infections. However, six months after the boom ended, the number of adult emergency room visits, outpatient appointments, and hospital admissions across the country were slightly lower than they were at the same time in 2021, according to one study. Industry Report Released last month. In fact, emergency room visits and hospitalizations in 2021 and 2022 were lower than they were Before epidemic. In other words, a rising wave of COVID-related medical conditions, affecting nearly every organ system, cannot be found long ago.
If mild infections routinely lead to fatal consequences in a delay of months or years, we should see that in our mortality rates as well. The number of excess deaths in the United States — meaning those outside historical norms — should continue to rise, long after case rates have fallen. After the excess deaths in the United States dropped to zero Last April, about two months after the end of the winter wave, and it’s been relatively low ever since. over here around the world, overall death rates follow acute infection rates, but only for a short time. The second wave of deaths – a long COVID wave – never seemed to break.
Even the most familiar “long-term COVID” illnesses — extreme fatigue, cognitive difficulties, and breathing difficulties — tend to be at their worst during Average post-injury stage. in early time Analytics Symptom tracking data from the UK, US and Sweden found that the proportion of those experiencing post-COVID effects fell by 83 per cent four to 12 weeks after the illness began. The UK government has also reported significantly higher rates of average COVID, compared to long COVID: in its own country exploratory study, 11 percent of people who contracted the virus experienced long-term problems such as weakness, muscle aches and loss of smell, but that rate dropped to 3 percent by 12 weeks after infection. United Kingdom experienced slight drop in the number of people reporting such issues throughout the spring and summer; A modern American government exploratory study It found that about half of Americans who have had any symptoms of COVID for three months or more have actually recovered.
This slow and steady resolution of symptoms fits with what we know about other post-infectious syndromes. a Adolescent Survey Healing of mononucleosis, which is caused by Epstein Barr virus, found that 13 percent of people met the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome at six months, but that rate was nearly halved at one year, and nearly halved again at two months. that to examine Of chronic fatigue after three different infections — EBV, Q fever, and Ross River virus — he identified a similar pattern: recurrent symptoms after infection, which decreased gradually over months.
The average spread of COVID does nothing to deny the long-term reality of COVID – a catastrophic condition that can shatter people’s lives. Many people who seek long distances have persistent symptoms, and their conditions can develop into complex chronic syndromes such as ME / CFS or dysautonomia. As a result, they may need specialized medical care, permanent workplaces, and ongoing financial support. Acknowledging the small chance of such a tragic outcome may be enough to make some people try to avoid infection or reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 at all costs.
But if you’re like me, and you’re trying to calibrate your behaviors to meet a personally acceptable level of COVID risk, it’s helpful to keep in mind the difference between the medium and long-term complications of the virus. Moderate COVID may be time-limited, but it’s far from rare – and not always mild. It can mean a month or two of extreme fatigue, severe headaches, and nagging chest pain. It can lead to life-threatening medical complications. It needs recognition, research and new treatments. For millions of people, the average COVID is just as bad.
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