Dr John Brooks, CDC’s chief medical officer for Covid response, co-chairing one session with Dr Haag, said he expected long-term post-Covid symptoms to affect ‘order tens of thousands of people in the United States. States and maybe hundreds of thousands. “
He added: “If you ask me what we know about this post-acute phase, I really have a hard time telling you that we know a lot. This is what we are really working on epidemiologically to understand what it is, how many people get it, how long does it last, what causes it, who affects it, and then , of course, what can we do to prevent it. event.”
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Presentations from Covid-19 survivors – including Dr Peter Piot, a world-renowned infectious disease expert who helped uncover the Ebola virus – made it clear that for many people, recovering from the disease is not like flipping a switch.
Dr Piot, who is the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and special advisor on Covid-19 research to the President of the European Commission, said he contracted the coronavirus in March and was hospitalized for a week in April. The acute phase of his illness involved some, but not all, of the classic symptoms of the illness. For example, his oxygen saturation was very low, but he did not develop shortness of breath or cough until after returning from the hospital.
The following month, he experienced a rapid heart rate for several hours a day, he said. For almost four months, he experienced extreme fatigue and sleeplessness. “What I found most frustrating personally was that there was nothing I could do,” said Dr Piot, who now considers himself to be cured except for needing more sleep than before his infection. “I just had to wait for an improvement.”
Chimera Smith, 38, a teacher in Baltimore who has been unable to work since she fell ill in March, said she had struggled for months to have her symptoms, which included loss of vision from one eye, taken seriously by doctors.
“It has been a daunting task and the task and the journey continues,” she said.
Ms Smith, who is black, said it was especially important to inform residents of underserved communities that the long-term effects are “as real and possible as dying from the virus itself.”