What the CDC’s new study tells us about long COVID

What the CDC’s new study tells us about long COVID

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that over 1 in 5 COVID-19 survivors under the age of 65 could develop long COVID. And those odds increase the older you get — among patients 65 and older, 1 in 4 could develop the protracted symptoms associated with the condition, the study found. Here’s everything you need to know:
What is long COVID?
“Long COVID” refers to the long-term health effects of a coronavirus infection, including lingering fatigue, respiratory and heart symptoms like difficulty breathing and chest pain, neurological symptoms like headache and brain fog, and digestive and other symptoms like stomach, joint, or muscle pain, per the CDC. These “post-COVID conditions,” as the agency refers to them, are most often found in those who had a serious bout of COVID — but anyone recovering from infection is susceptible.
Symptoms are typically first identified about four weeks after the initial infection, and can then last weeks or even months before maybe going away or perhaps coming back again. Additionally, long COVID might not affect everyone the same way, often making it difficult for those suffering, as well as their health care providers, to make a diagnosis. Unfortunately, the vaccine might not make much of a difference on this front — a large U.S. study published Wednesday suggests coronavirus inoculation has only a “slight protective effect” against long COVID, The Washington Post writes. Though it seems to reduce the risk of lung and blood clot disorders, the vaccine doesn’t protect much against the condition’s other symptoms, the study found.
All in all, it’s important to note there’s also still much unknown about long COVID, so findings and understandings regarding the condition might change.
Is long COVID a big deal?
Absolutely. 
“This is real, definable, and causes significant patient suffering,” Bruce Levy of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston told the Post in February, referring to long COVID. “The majority of people who got acutely infected felt totally normal before they had their infection, and now they don’t feel normal. That’s jarring.”
Why does it happen?
Scientists aren’t entirely sure… but they do have some ideas. Some experts believe that an intense immune response during a primary COVID infection may lead to inflammation and damage throughout the body, eventually resulting in long COVID, The New York Times reports. Another theory is that the immune system never really shuts down after the initial infection.
How is it diagnosed?
At the moment, given the condition’s wide array of symptoms, doctors must rely on patient descriptions and process of elimination to diagnose long COVID, reports the Times. To hopefully clarify the process, researchers are working to identify certain biomarkers that correspond to certain post-COVID conditions, like inflammation.
What did the CDC’s report say?
The large study, published online on May 24, found that one in five previously-infected adults under the age of 65 has experienced at least one symptom that could be considered long COVID. In those older than 65, that breakdown increases to one in four. And, “in an indication of how seriously the [agency] views the problem of long COVID,” writes the Times, the authors of the study recommended “routine assess­ment for post-COVID conditions among persons who survive COVID-19.”
For both age groups — above and below 65-years-old — COVID patients’ risk of developing respiratory symptoms and lung problems doubled compared to uninfected individuals, the study found. Meanwhile, those above 65 were at greater risk of developing kidney failure, neurological conditions, and a number of mental health conditions than their younger counterparts. Regardless of age, the most commonly reported post-COVID infection symptoms were respiratory issues and musculoskeletal pain.
The study did not incorporate patients’ vaccination status, nor did it report certain demographic information, like race, ethnicity, sex, or location. It also did not identify which virus variants were connected to each case, the Times notes. 
Notably, researchers concluded that long COVID might “affect a patient’s ability to contribute to the work force and might have economic consequences for survivors and their dependents.” The study’s results could “potentially translate into millions of people with new diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, neurologic problems,” epidemiologist Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, who was not involved in the research, told the Times. “These are lifelong conditions — certainly manageable, but not curable conditions.”
Is there a treatment for long COVID? Can you cure it? 
Unfortunately, there is no cure for long COVID — at least not at the moment. There are, however, certain steps long COVID patients can take to hopefully ease and treat their symptoms. For starters, make sure to talk to your primary care doctor; if you’re concerned that what you’re feeling is COVID-related, there’s no need to wait. Otherwise, you might check out a post-COVID clinic, a number of which are cropping up nationwide and offer multidisciplinary and individualized care, both the Times and the Post report. Be warned, however; accessing a clinic might mean out-of-state travel, and can be difficult to do depending on your insurance. 
Experts have also indicated that, in addition to symptom-specific treatment, “rehabilitation through low-paced gradual increases in activity is key to recovery,” the Post writes. Overall, experts advise remembering that healing isn’t linear and will take time.

Read more
House panel exposes how ‘shameful’ meatpackers put profits over worker health during pandemic

House panel exposes how ‘shameful’ meatpackers put profits over worker health during pandemic

This post was originally published on this site A congressional report published Thursday revealed that meat processing companies worked with and lobbied the Trump administration to continue operating during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the danger to workers in the high-risk industry. “The devastating impacts of the Covid crisis on workers...

Read more
Biden administration appeals ruling lifting mask mandate on transport

Biden administration appeals ruling lifting mask mandate on transport

This post was originally published on this site The United States government is appealing a court ruling that controversially lifted a federal mask mandate on public transport earlier this week, the Justice Department said Wednesday. After the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s top health body, assessed...

Read more
Airlines rush to drop mask mandates

Airlines rush to drop mask mandates

This post was originally published on this siteMajor airlines and airports are rushing to drop their mask requirements following a federal court ruling that struck down the federal government’s mask mandate for planes, trains and buses. Every major U.S. airline announced that masks are now optional shortly after the Transportation Security...

Read more
CDC mask mandate for travelers struck down by federal judge

CDC mask mandate for travelers struck down by federal judge

This post was originally published on this siteA federal judge in Florida struck down on Monday the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airplanes and other public transport methods.

Read more
CDC to extend federal transportation mask mandate for additional two weeks

CDC to extend federal transportation mask mandate for additional two weeks

This post was originally published on this siteThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to extend the federal transportation mask mandate for another two weeks, according to a source familiar with the Biden administration’s plans who was authorized to speak about them.

Read more
Deadline looms for mask mandate on planes, trains

Deadline looms for mask mandate on planes, trains

This post was originally published on this siteThe White House has only days to decide if it will renew the mask mandate on public transportation systems as COVID-19 cases once again show signs of rising. The requirement to wear a mask on airplanes, in airports and on buses and trains...

Read more
Why this may be the start of ‘America’s 1st so-what COVID wave’

Why this may be the start of ‘America’s 1st so-what COVID wave’

COVID-19 — and more specifically, the BA.2 “subvariant of the Omicron variant that tore through the U.S. this winter — is spreading,” Sumathi Reddy writes at The Wall Street Journal, and given that people are mostly testing at home and this variant has fairly mild symptoms (if any ) among vaccinate people, “it is likely that public-health statistics are significantly undercounting cases right now.” Top public health officials are predicting a surge in case, like parts of Europe are experiencing.
But there’s a good chance “you’re going to the movies and eating indoors,” Reddy adds. “Your kid stopped wearing a mask to school; you no longer wear one to work. After two years of COVID precautions, you finally feel normal again. Well, mostly.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) national COVID map is almost entirely low-risk green.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CBS News explains that this may end up being “America’s first so-what COVID wave,” because of vaccines and treatments, and crucially, because so few people are being hospitalized.
Rather than focusing on case counts, “hospitalization rates are likely a more accurate indicator of transmission and reflect the severity of infections,” the Journal reports. And the U.S. “is currently reporting 14,802 coronavirus hospitalizations, the lowest mark since reporting began in July 2020,” CNN’s Ryan Struyk tweeted Sunday night, citing Health and Human Services data.
When should you worry and change your behavior? “Consider both the rate of increase as well as how long cases have been rising,” Reddy reports. “A steady weekly rise of 5 percent for multiple weeks might signal that it’s time to resume some protective measures, such as masking indoors,” but “if cases are increasing by 50 percent week over week, that’s a red flag.”
Another sign things are feeling more “normal” on the COVID-19 front is that President Biden’s approval rating on his response to the pandemic has risen to 58 percent, from 50 percent in January, ABC News reported Sunday. That poll, conducted with Ipsos, surveyed a national sample of 530 adults April 8-9, and its margin of sampling error is ±4.9 percentage points.

Read more
Omicron subvariant BA.2 now dominant strain in the US: CDC

Omicron subvariant BA.2 now dominant strain in the US: CDC

This post was originally published on this siteA subvariant of omicron known as BA.2 is now the dominant strain in the United States, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The variant has been steadily rising in proportion because of its increased…

Read more
New CDC Guidelines Say Most Americans Can Be ‘Mask Free’

New CDC Guidelines Say Most Americans Can Be ‘Mask Free’

This post was originally published on this siteSATISH KUMAR Nearly two years to the day after the first coronavirus shutdown measures marked, for many, the beginning of the pandemic, the White House’s COVID-19 response team has released an updated plan to combat the virus as the nation seeks to return...

Read more