Sunday, February 05, 2023 | Rajab 13, 1444 H
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An epidemic after an epidemic!

The world has been slow to realise that the long term (Covid-19), if it is true, is one of the most serious consequences of this virus. But despite everything we know now about the long coronavirus, it is still not enough. As following the research, I notice how researchers still do not know who is most at risk, or how long the condition may last and whether some of the variants have caused it frequently, or how often vaccines may overwhelm it.

It seems to me that its danger is amorphous and inevitable. Thus as human nature you can be so afraid of what you don’t understand or just say, not so well defined, I wouldn’t even think of it!

Perhaps now that everyone has slowly moved to a post-pandemic world, I am worried that we may leave behind all these patients (affected by long corona) under the rug! Aren’t you with me that coronavirus has long struggled to gain a foothold in societies and now, it threatens to be (long-term ) one of its first major influences, which is slipping back into being marginalised in some societies.

Of course, researchers believe that this category — if I can name it — has hundreds of possible symptoms. It can strike the brain, heart, lungs, intestines and all of the above, or none of the above. It can start as a silent infection, patient can be admitted at intensive care unit, or anything in between. It can even start days, weeks or months after a person is first infected with the virus and its severity can fluctuate over time. So is long Covid-19 a collateral damage as a result of the war between the virus and the immune system... That is the question?

All of this means that even the diagnosis of long Covid-19 — it’s still a battle. As for now, there is no clear and agreed upon clinical definition, or a single name for the condition, or a standardised set of tests for a definite diagnosis. Even the World Health Organization can not agree on how long a person must be sick before they meet the criteria for the condition!

Undoubtedly in the ideal world and to understand the risks of this category, the institute or the body responsible for following up on coronavirus will systematically survey large segments of people — for example — over long periods, observing who is infected, who continues to develop the condition, what form it takes and how it affects on people’s health!

In the end, will the long coronavirus be the specter of the pandemic looming on the horizon? We all hear that there are risks, but not exactly the amount. Without a doubt, the global Corona crisis will end in some respects, when we decide to deal with it as we did. But this is not an option for a large part of the regions of this world, who cannot put the Corona pandemic completely behind them... Thus, perhaps we will witness epidemic post-epidemic!

Dr Yousuf Ali Al Mulla is a physician, medical innovator and a writer.

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