Lange Covid expert says world is in ‘deep trouble’ and millions could have debilitating problems
While some hope the Covid pandemic will end soon, the long-term effects of the virus could affect some survivors for years and have debilitating effects on the lives of young and previously healthy people.
‘Long Covid’ is a somewhat common, mysterious and potentially devastating condition in which a person has symptoms of the virus weeks to months after infection.
It can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from altered or lost smell, to crippling fatigue, and in some rare cases, even severe psychiatric symptoms. While experts believe it may be linked to an immune response to the virus, the exact reason has not been confirmed.
The condition is common in people who also suffer from milder infections — usually younger, healthier people without many pre-existing medical problems.
With the Omicron variant infecting Americans at a rapid pace — up to 800,000 infections per day registered in the U.S. at its peak and recorded infections likely accounting for only a third of actual cases — millions of Americans could suffer long-term health problems as a result of the winter Omicron peak.
The Omicron COVID-19 wave peaked at about 800,000 recorded infections per day, although official numbers may be only a third of the true total of Americans infected. Experts predict that somewhere between 10% and 30% of Covid patients will develop Covid for a long time, meaning millions are likely to suffer from it for a long time. Pictured: A woman in Baltimore, Maryland, tests for Covid on January 13
dr. Leonard Jason is a psychology professor at Depaul University and works with long-term Covid patients. He told DailyMail.com that the potential of the Omicron wave causing the condition in so many survivors could have serious long-term negative consequences.
This will have all kinds of economic consequences. [and to] our health care system,” Jason said.
dr. Leonard Jason (pictured), Depaul University psychology professor who works with long-term Covid patients, warns the condition could disrupt the lives of millions, though he is optimistic that effective treatments for the condition will be developed over time
He told DailyMail.com that somewhere between ten and thirty percent of long-term Covid survivors continue to suffer from at least some symptoms.
For even the milder versions, where a person loses their sense of smell or has occasional headaches, dealing with the day-to-day impact of the condition can worsen their quality of life and impair their ability to participate in regular activities.
Those who suffer from more severe symptoms, such as extreme fatigue, frequent body aches or sensory problems, can become unemployed, putting pressure on their loved ones.
Many will also need a caregiver, at least for a temporary period, who takes another productive, functioning member of society out of communities.
“This will be a problem for society in the future… it’s hard for people to understand,” Jason added.
If millions of Americans were infected with Covid in the past two months of the reign of the Omicron variant — which some predict up to 40 percent of Americans will be infected at some point — and at least ten percent develop Covid for a long time, that could be devastating.
Jason notes that even simple functions such as soccer coaches, camp councilors, and scout leaders, which are not considered particularly important to society as a whole, yet can have a major impact on the lives of some individuals, can be scarce.
dr. Noah Greenspan (pictured), a New York City-based cardiopulmonary physiotherapist and long-time Covid expert, says the current Covid situation is putting the world in ‘deep trouble’
dr. Noah Greenspan, a cardiopulmonary physiotherapist in New York City who has treated Covid and “long-term Covid” patients since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, fears the current Covid situation may leave the country, and the world at large, in “deep problems ‘bringing’.
Greenspan also said it is too early to say how likely it is that Omicron will cause long-term Covid and whether the condition manifests itself differently in patients infected by the new strain.
“At this point, I’m 100 percent sure we don’t know if people who contract Omicron are more or less likely to get Covid long-term,” he told DailyMail.com.
‘It’s way too early because a lot of people have developed that’ [long Covid] developed symptoms weeks or even months after their acute infection.’
He also notes that one of the most striking features of long-term Covid is how unpredictable it is.
“The ‘classic’ long-haul transporter has a more diverse (random), much less predictable course, more diverse and random symptoms, with less of a pattern,” he said.
“It’s like sticking your hand in a bag of symptoms and pulling out your own personal symptom constellation, or your own personal Da Vinci code.”
Jason is optimistic about the future and believes that all the information scientists have gathered about Covid, long Covid and coronaviruses as a whole will likely lead to treatments and therapies that will help the nation overcome this bulge.
“I would continue to bet on creativity and scientists around the world,” he said.