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Recent report gives insight into how many people have long COVID, doctors say vaccination is key

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Posted at 6:34 AM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-07 07:49:21-04

TAMPA — “Long COVID is really defined as any symptom that is new, worsening, or continuing after COVID,” said Dr. Jill Roberts, Associate Professor for the USF College of Public Health.

It can last for months or even years.

A new study with data collected by the Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests that about one in five adults in the U.S. who had a COVID-19 infection is suffering from long COVID symptoms.

“The list is huge and it’s getting longer by the moment,” said Roberts.

“Most of us that got COVID at one point or another. We had a cough, right? It would be normal to have a cough for two even three weeks after the fact but two or three months? Abnormal. Some people experienced a loss of taste and the loss of smell. For some people that’s never returned,” she added.

Other symptoms include:

  • brain fog
  • having a hard time concentrating
  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • heart palpitations
  • fatigue

“This isn’t like it’s a long day of work I’m tired. This is I can’t do work. I can’t do my normal activities,” said Roberts.

Scientists continue to study to see who is more susceptible to long COVID. However, this study finds that women are more likely than men to experience long COVID and that older adults are less likely to suffer from it.

“What seems to be in the information is that people who had severe COVID were more likely to have long-term COVID,” said Roberts.

Doctors said anyone can get it though, even if they had a mild infection or no symptoms at all.

Another study shows that kids can get long COVID too.

“It really does look like we’re seeing long-term COVID in younger individuals, which highlights a necessity to really vaccinate in those younger groups,” said Roberts.

Now that vaccines are authorized for kids under five, pediatricians are encouraging families to get their children vaccinated.

“The data has been overwhelmingly positive. Both in terms of preventing illness and more importantly preventing long-term complications of COVID. Preventing in kids the multi-system inflammatory shock syndrome, preventing myocarditis which can be induced by COVID, preventing hospitalization, preventing death,” said Dr. Lisa Cronin, General Pediatrician at North Pinellas Children’s Medical Center.

It’s not just kids though, doctors are urging everyone to stay up to date on their vaccines.

“Although unfortunately, our current vaccines were not real great at preventing the spread of omicron, they were really good at preventing severe omicron,” said Roberts.

“Vaccination can prevent against long-term COVID,” she added.