WHO warns against ’long Covid’ again. What are symptoms, effects

In certain cases, Covid-19 patients continue to suffer from some symptoms even after testing negative. This is known as long Covid

Updated21 Jan 2022, 07:00 AM IST
WHO Technical lead head Covid-19 Maria Van Kerkhove
WHO Technical lead head Covid-19 Maria Van Kerkhove(REUTERS)

As the world continues to deal with the Omicron-driven latest coronavirus surge, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has yet again issued a warning regarding countries and governments ignoring the phenomenon of long Covid under the ‘guise of living with Covid’.

A Twitter page called “LongCovidSOS” recently put out a tweet criticising the lack of media coverage about long Covid symptoms and asking the world health body to raise awareness about the same. 

“The @WHO lead by @DrTedros and @mvankerkhove brilliantly took the initial step, back in 2020, of recognising and raising awareness of #LongCovid, but now, as cases rise and countries accept high daily infection numbers as the norm, under the guise of “Living with Covid” (sic),” read the tweet. 

“There seems to be no mention of #LongCovid in any of the media briefings, recommendations, or policy papers. The people of the world, especially the developing world, need the @WHO to inform governments about the possibility of developing #LongCovid even from a “mild” infection (sic),” it added. 

Quoting this, Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist and Covid-19 technical lead at the WHO, said that they have been regularly warning about long Covid. 

“We agree, please see here where we are regularly warning about this. @WHO and partners around the world will continue to work towards recognition, better research and appropriate rehab for those suffering from Post COVID-19 Condition (#LongCovid) (sic),” she wrote. 

In view of this, let us look at what long Covid is:

In certain cases, Covid-19 patients continue to suffer from some symptoms even after testing negative. This is known as long Covid. 

What are the symptoms of long Covid?

One of the most common symptoms of Covid-19 is loss of sense of smell and taste. "Loss of sense of smell affects around 70 percent of patients who had Covid," said Joaquim Mullol, who heads up a smell clinic in Barcelona's Hospital Clinic, as quoted by news agency AFP.

A quarter of the patients, who have lost their smell because of Covid, do not get it back for months after the initial recovery, he added. Such syndrome for the long term is known as parosmia. It is a smell disorder that makes sense of smell distorted.

Apart from that, other symptoms of long Covid include fatigue, persistent cough, breathlessness, brain fog and anxiety.

What are the long-term effects of Omicron?

Experts say there is not enough data as of now to suggest what kind of long-term impact Omicron can have upon us, but it cannot be taken lightly.

"We have no data yet on what proportion of infections with Omicron... end up with Long Covid," explained Akiko Iwasaki, who studies viral immunology at Yale University, as quoted by Reuters.

"People who underestimate Omicron as 'mild' are putting themselves at risk of debilitating disease that can linger for months or years."

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First Published:21 Jan 2022, 07:00 AM IST
HomeNewsworldWHO warns against ’long Covid’ again. What are symptoms, effects

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