Dr Anthony Fauci, US top infectious disease expert has warned the federal government against prematurely declaring victory over the Covid-19 pandemic. He said long long Covid still exists and represents an “insidious” public health emergency for millions of people.

In an interview with UK daily The Guardian, Fauci urged US Congress to avoid complacency and resume funding to combat the virus as well as long Covid.

Long Covid is a chronic and prolonged illness that continues to elude scientists.

Fauci said, “It (Long Covid) is a very insidious beneath-the-radar-screen public health emergency”.

According to Fauci, long Covid impairs the body system without any signs, and that’s why it has not attracted much attention as a death rate. There is no test for long Covid – its precise causes remain mysterious and little is known about how it interacts with other medical and physical conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that between 10% and 20% of Covid-19 survivors have been left with lasting symptoms including breathlessness, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction that can persist long after the acute infection has resolved.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 5 people who contract the virus suffer lingering symptoms. Some slowly recover, but others find their quality of life drastically diminished for months or even years.

Fauci told Guardian, “We don’t know what the mechanisms of brain fog are. How come someone who is very sharp intellectually and very energetic all of a sudden can’t concentrate for more than half an hour on anything? And how come people who are polished athletes no longer have any exercise tolerance?”

He hoped that all such mysteries will unfold and uncover some time in the reasonably near future.

“You don’t really know what to do about something until you know what the lesion is, and we don’t know what the lesion is yet. That’s the problem”.

Last year the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – where Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases until he steps down in December – launched a $1.15bn initiative to advance understanding of and the ability to predict, treat and prevent long Covid. US CDC is also studying long Covid.

Who are most vulnerable?

According to Fauci, elderly people and anyone whose Covid case was severe are more vulnerable to being the victim of long Covid. Besides, people having underlying psychological issues: depression and things like that have a proclivity to for long Covid.

Some studies indicated that long Covid is more common among women than men. Fauci speculates that some of the aspects of dysregulation of the immune system are more common in women than in men.

Countries, scientists, and health practitioners need to be considering how to end the emergency phase of the Covid pandemic without putting solutions for long Covid further out of reach.

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Long Covid ‘beneath-the-radar-screen’: Fauci appeals to avoid complacency

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