When people think of the coronavirus, they tend to focus on the number of cases, the number of deaths, the number of hospitalizations, when ICUs are approaching 100% occupancy in certain places. But those who suffer the so-called “long COVID”, still alive but suffering unexplained symptoms, are left unaccounted for.
Claire Hastie has had daily symptoms for almost a year. Doctors have told him that they have no explanation why he is still unable to walk.
“I still have not had a day without symptoms since I got sick on March 17, I am reaching my tenth month of mystery. I still have a hard time walking, I can walk around 100 meters very slowly, but that implies chest pain and lack of breath, I need a wheelchair to do more than that. And I used to ride my bike 13 miles a day, so I used to be very active, “says Hastie during her interview with the Good Morning Europe program of the English edition of euronews. “I have musculoskeletal pain, tremors, difficulty concentrating. This is one of the biggest problems for long-term COVID patients who have to work.
To support people in their situation, Hastie has founded longcovid.org, an association and a website with resources and information for these patients.
“Despite multiple trips to medical centers, most of these people are not admitted to the hospital, nor do they meet the conditions to undergo tests when they got sick, so they have remained at home, without registering with the official and largely invisible statistics. Some are taking longer to recover than people who were hospitalized, even those who were in intensive care, “says the website in its presentation.
Professionals do not know the disease, the general public even less
The association already has 33,000 members and continues to grow steadily, explains Hastie. “We are seeing very difficult situations. People losing their jobs, having to sell their house, losing their relationships when their environment does not believe them, and having difficulties accessing services, even in England where some clinics for these are being set up. patients “because sometimes the doctors themselves do not believe the sick.
“This disease can affect any part of the body and this is not known enough” he explains, “not even in the medical profession, imagine yourself among the general population” denouncing that it is very important that employers understand this situation.
He talks about how in England clinics are just beginning to be set up, but this is not the case in other countries. It also regrets that the offer of these centers is not consistent enough. “I was looking for a clinic last August, but they did not know what to do with me. They told me: we have no explanation about why he cannot walk, why he has this constellation of symptoms.”
He believes that until science and research find explanations and some treatment, the help these clinics can provide is limited. “They can help alleviate some of the horrible symptoms that people have, nausea, dizziness, heartburn or nerve pain, but they are not getting to the root of it.”
Research in China published by The Lancet recently estimated that three-quarters of COVID-19 patients suffered at least one symptom six months after falling ill. The main cause is believed to be that the new coronavirus can cause neurological damage.