Skepticism, Slow Response Complicate Mysterious Misery of ‘Long COVID’
Long COVID is distinct from an acute COVID-19 infection. In the acute phase of COVID-19, the immune system fights off the virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe to nonexistent. COVID-19 has been remarkable for the number of people who are completely asymptomatic during an infection, but those people are not immune from long COVID.
In long COVID, the acute phase of the illness ends but debilitating symptoms either begin or continue. Between 10% and 30% of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 suffer from long COVID, writes Meghan O’Rourke of The Atlantic. That range suggests how little is known about the postviral syndrome. Doctors began noticing long COVID symptoms in the early days of the pandemic, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged the existence of long COVID in July 2020, Tanya Basu reported in MIT Technology Review. Yet the National Institutes of Health (NIH) did not receive funding for research into the syndrome until 2021.