What Is Long COVID?

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19 and most people will recover after contracting the disease in few days or in months. Others have symptoms that linger for weeks, months or even years after the initial diagnosis was given. Many looks like they may have recovered from the disease but their symptoms recur within a few months. Even mild or severe COVID-19 can trigger long-lasting symptoms.

Many names have recently been used to define this condition like Chronic COVID, Long COVID, Long Hold COVID, Post COVID condition, post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 etc. The Long COVID may trigger other conditions such as Diabetes Mellitus, Kidney disease etc. The symptoms can be similar to the original disease or be completely different. Many people with the disease It is going to be a permanent way of living for these patients suffering from the chronicity of the disease. These long haulers bring a new form of disability for which the department of Health and the Human resources as well as the Civil Rights will have to start providing guidance to protect the one with the problem. Long COVID becomes a new disability under title 2 of state and local government… Section 1557… Section 504 under the ADA. These federal laws apply even during emergencies which apply the laws and their related rules which define the person with the disability as physical and mental impairment.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that people with long COVID have acquired a range of new symptoms lasting weeks to months after infection with the virus, worsening as well the physical and mental ability…Symptoms like extreme fatigue, Difficulty in thinking and concentrating, Dizziness, Headaches, Shortness of Breath, Tachycardia, palpitations, Chest pain, Depression, Loss of smell and taste, cough, fever and damages to different organs like Heart, Lungs, Kidneys, Brain, skin etc.

Long COVID bring with it Physical and mental impairment, generally related to one or more body systems. It can be neurological, respiratory, circulatory or cardiovascular. A mental impairment may include any mental or psychological disorder such as emotional or mental illness. Long COVID will affect one or more body system with Lung damage, Kidney damage or Neurological damage etc.

Long COVID can substantially limit one or more major life activities like caring for oneself, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, breathing, reading, thinking, communicating, speaking, working etc. It can alter major functions of the body especially in the neurological system, the immune system, cardiovascular system, circulatory system and the operation of an organ. People with long COVID may have mild or severe impairment, permanent or long-term impairment. If the impairment comes and goes, it may be considered as a disability limiting life activities.

A map from CNN experts (Gupta) showed the evolution of the Omicron
subvariants from the SA.1 and the BA.2:

Long COVID can be seen when a person has lung damage causing shortness of breath, fatigue limiting respiratory function and other activities. It can be also seen when someone experiences memory lapses and ‘Brain-fog” limiting the brain function in concentrating and thinking. The CDC and many health experts are trying to get a better understanding of this phenomenon of “Long COVID” to determine when the disease impose disability. We previously in our chronicle discuss about the ADA criteria under the ADA Section 504 and Section 1557.

Maxime Coles MD

Boca Raton FL

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