COVID-19 hospitalization cases are the lowest they have been since the early stages of the pandemic. For many, it feels like the cloud of COVID-19 has disappeared — but there are still people fighting against the symptoms caused by the virus.
Medically known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2, “long-term” COVID symptoms vary from person to person. The conditions are described as a set of symptoms that continue weeks or even months after being infected with the virus.
Even if the infection was mild or there were no initial symptoms, anyone who previously had COVID-19 can develop symptoms, according to medical experts.
Some commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 are fatigue, difficulty breathing, migraines, fever, joint or muscle pain, and change of smell or taste. Those who were healthy pre-COVID are now experiencing a disturbance in their ordinary routines.
“Long-term COVID has ruined my life. I had a mild initial case, then I kept getting worse. I am afraid I will never live again and I’m losing my youth day by day,” 23-year-old IppokratisAnge1 wrote on Twitter.
For some, a change in employment status may have an impact on health insurance, further complicating treatments. Many have also stated that their symptoms make it difficult to care for children, exercise, or participate in daily activities resulting in mental health difficulties.
“There has been a significant decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases on campus, among students and employees,” Tanya Tatum director of Student Health Services at FAMU, told The Famuan. “We are not currently treating any students with long COVID-19 symptoms.”
While FAMU’s effort to minimize the virus on campus has been relatively effective, individuals affected by long-term COVID across the country have expressed a need for urgency to find a cure. The Biden administration has ordered a national research plan to better understand and treat long COVID.
“After getting COVID, I lost my sense of smell, then taste left soon after,” FAMU student Alani Pierre said. “It took about two weeks to recover from my symptoms and I am happy I was able to.”
According to the federal Government Accountability Office, long-term COVID may have impacted up to 23 million Americans, placing an estimated 1 million individuals out of work. The full scope of the health and economic impact are unknown, but it is predicted to be substantial.
The causes of long-term COVID remain undetermined, making diagnosis and treatment more difficult. Health officials encourage people to continue taking precautions to avoid contracting COVID. Being vaccinated against COVID-19 may lower the risk of contracting the virus and prevent long-term COVID symptoms.