For Many Covid Survivors, the Battle Isn’t Over

Long Covid can be debilitating. Getting vaccinated protects you from an unpredictable disease.

Photo: Javad Esmaeili/Unsplash

The long battle with Covid

A new study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases monitored 96 adult in- and out-patients in Germany for 12 months after their Covid symptoms started. After a year, only 23% of these patients were completely free of symptoms. More than half experienced fatigue and reduced exercise capacity. Close to 40% experienced shortness of breath, concentration problems and problems finding words, and 26% percent experienced sleeping problems. Long Covid isn’t just a problem for the elderly or immunocompromised — the study shows that some symptoms were much more prevalent in patients younger than 60.

Motivating the vaccine-hesitant

A new survey from Resolve to Save Lives showed one third of American adults are unaware of long Covid. People who are hesitant about vaccination are even more likely to be unaware. After learning about Covid’s long-term consequences, 32% of unvaccinated respondents said they are more likely to get vaccinated. Then, after watching video testimonials from long haulers, 64% of respondents said they felt more concerned about the condition. Sharing these personal stories about the risks of Covid could encourage people to protect themselves with vaccines, which is critical to reduce the number of people who get infected with Covid and prevent more suffering and death from both Covid and long Covid.

A long way to go

This week, the global toll of confirmed deaths from Covid surpassed 4 million, though the true death toll is likely to be much (perhaps 3 times) higher when accounting for excess mortality and unreported Covid deaths. This number will continue to rise steadily until we ensure global access to vaccines and combat the unacceptable inequity in vaccine rollout between high and lower-income countries. Much of the world continues to fight Covid surges — with no clear timeline for when vaccines will be readily available and no end to the pandemic in sight.

President and CEO, Resolve to Save Lives | Former CDC Director and NYC Health Commissioner | Focused on saving lives. twitter.com/drtomfrieden