Long COVID Hits Families, Veterans Hard

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A series of studies shows the long-term the impacts of COVID-19. An increasingly large body of evidence demonstrates that the virus can cause ongoing health problems months or years after infection. The post-COVID impairments affect 11% of people who have been infected. The more we study the virus, the better we understand its lasting effect throughout the body. “With COVID, we first thought of the disease as an acute respiratory illness, but long COVID has raised the public’s understating that viral infections can lead to chronic conditions,” explained Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, Chief of Research and Development at the VA St. Louis Health Care System. “A lot of people trivialize COVID, but even with the mellowing of Omicron, and vaccination, COVID is still much more of a health threat compared to flu”.

Long COVID can lead to a range of health problems, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough, headache, trouble sleeping, dizziness, smell or taste changes, diarrhea, stomach pain, rash, joint and muscle pain, and fatigue. Veterans are among the many groups hit hard by the disease, a recent study shows. One year after infection, 5% of veterans still experience symptoms. A separate study found that 38% of current military service members experienced new or increased difficulty exercising, while 30% faced new challenges performing daily activities.

Long COVID also threatens the livelihoods of US families. Post-COVID symptoms can impair people’s ability to perform daily activities, limit their capacity to to work full-time, worsen economic hardship. According to a new report, households headed by a person with long COVID were two to four times more likely experience financial struggles, regardless of their economic situation pre-pandemic.