More research is needed to understand the condition of “long COVID” and the burden it places on the health care system, a group of Ontario scientists said in a report on Tuesday.
Ontario’s COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Table, a group that provides advice to the province on the pandemic, said post-COVID-19 symptoms affect about 10% of those infected and can last for a few weeks to several months. “There is an under-knowledge both of the public, but also of clinicians of this disease, because it is difficult to define and quantify and because we do not have a lot of information about it,” said Fahad Razak, the main author of the report. A conservative estimate suggests that about 150,000 Canadians who contract the novel coronavirus show symptoms long after infection with COVID-19, said Fahad Razak. In Ontario, between 57,000 and 78,000 people are affected. Of over 200 different symptoms, the most common are fatigue, shortness of breath, general pain or discomfort, anxiety, and depression. Fahad Razak said people with such symptoms find it difficult to carry out daily activities and need increased healthcare resources.
“The burden will not only be on the health system, but also on other parts of society,” he added, adding “that individuals cannot return to work, need a home. support, which is difficult with work and family life ”. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that about one in four people infected with the virus have symptoms of long COVID for at least a month and one in 10 people have symptoms that last beyond 12 weeks . Ontario’s COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Table said more research is needed on risk factors for long-lasting COVID. Vaccination reduces the risk of developing post-COVID-19 disease, said Fahad Razak. To date, nearly 84.5% of Ontarians over the age of 12 have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 78.2% have received two doses.
Fahad Razak said the scientists’ advisory group’s latest report looked at data from previous waves of the pandemic and did not take into account variants of the virus _ like Delta and Alpha _. “We don’t have the data yet to know the impact,” he said. “The concern is that these variants are clearly more infectious, so we potentially run into an issue where we’re going to see even higher rates of the post-COVID condition. There is limited Canadian data on healthcare use patterns for patients with long-term COVID, including emergency department visits and hospitalizations, the group of scientists said. A pan-Canadian study is underway to examine these trends in long-term COVID-19 patients.
This article has been produced with the financial support of the Facebook and The Canadian Press News Scholarships.
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