In the Hive

A significant number of COVID-19 survivors face a ‘long haul’


According to the World Health Organization, Long COVID is a condition that occurs in people who were infected with COVID-19 and who have symptoms “that last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.” It’s a necessarily broad definition, as scientists are still barely scratching the surface in their understanding of the chronic condition in its many forms. By some estimates, more than a third of all COVID-19 patients will develop some form of the illness.

While many Long COVID patients have seen improvement over time, others are still suffering with symptoms nearly two years after their initial infection.  The array of symptoms associated with the illness include extreme fatigue, headaches, muscle weakness, cognitive dysfunction, fever, and loss of taste and smell, among others.

The University of Utah opened its COVID-19 Long Hauler Clinic nearly seven months ago to both offer treatment and to better understand the condition. And while a recent study suggests that getting vaccinated before contracting COVID may help prevent or ameliorate the effects of the lingering illness, many questions — including whether or not Long COVID could be a permanent condition — may take years to answer.

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko, bioethicist and contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine
Dr. Jeanette Brown, Pulmonologist and Medical Director of the U of U Health COVID-19 Long-Hauler Clinic
Dr. Rachel Hess, Chief of the Division of Health System Innovation and Research at U of U Health

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