In this third-fourth wave of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections, the number of deaths remains low, thanks to the spread of vaccines that offer significant protection against hospitalization and death. Nonetheless, the circulation of the virus feeds cases of Long Covid, a condition characterized by symptoms that can last for over a year. That is why it is wrong to overlook its health, social and economic impact.

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As of today, Monday August 2, based on the Johns Hopkins University interactive map since the beginning of pandemic they have lost the vita beyond 4.2 million people worldwide, 128mila of which in Italy. Although the third / fourth wave of infections in numerous countries, led by the more transmissible Delta variant (B.1.617.2, ex second Indian) of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, thanks to vaccines the number of hospitalized in intensive care and above all of deaths it remains contained, especially when compared to previous waves that have quickly sent national health systems into a tailspin. It is no coincidence that in the UK, despite recording an average of 25mil new infections a day, the government led by Boris Johnson has however given the green light to the “Freedom Day”, A practically generalized reopening of activities. According to experts, the “free all“in these epidemiological conditions it is a serious mistake, not only because it risks the birth of new variants more dangerous, potentially able to bypass vaccines, but also because a factor too often overlooked in this pandemic is not taken into account, the Long Covid.

Also known as sindrome post-COVID-19 O long-term after-effects of COVID-19, Long Covid is a set of symptoms which occurs in a significant percentage of patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Not only in those who have needed hospitalization, but also in those who have experienced the mild form (paucisintomatica) or even asymptomatic of the infection. As explained to by Professor Christina Pagel, Lecturer in Operations Research at University College London (UCL) and first director of the British University’s Clinical Operations Research Unit (CORU), Long Covid embraces over 200 symptoms. which in some cases are also present a year later the overcoming of acute phase of COVID-19. The most common symptoms include respiratory difficulties (dyspnea); a tightness in the chest; sleep disorders; generalized fatigue; fatigue; muscle aches; brain fog (confusion attached to cognitive deficits); problems with concentration and dizziness. But there is no shortage of intestinal problems, alterations in the menstrual cycle, skin irritations and many more. To these must be added real organ damage, quite common in patients who have experienced the severe form of COVID-19 and who have been hospitalized, especially in the wards of intensive care.

For many of these people the life quality it literally collapsed and in several have a hard time to study it’s at to work. A significant proportion of Long Covid patients have not even been able to return to work after infection. As explained by Professor Pagel, between 20 and 30 percent of patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus who do not need the hospital develop symptoms that last for several months and beyond. The greatest number of cases is concentrated between 35 and 69 years and mainly affects the women, the health workers (122 thousand in the United Kingdom), the social workers and the people they come from disadvantaged communities, but it can also affect up to 15 percent of students with less than 16 years. The scientist explained that the brain scans carried out on patients who have experienced the mild form of COVID-19 showed that some parts of the brain (such as those related to memory and smell) turned out to be thinner than normal, plus these people got worst scores in cognitive tests. The long-term consequences of the infection – whether it is mild or severe – and it is also for this reason that doctors and virologists recommend not getting the virus at all. But with the “free all” and still significant percentages of unvaccinated people, the infections will continue to grow inexorably.

Pregliasco says that soon we will have 10 thousand cases a day and that three regions will turn yellow

As explained by Pagel, the Academy of Medical Sciences has estimated a summer peak of 20,000 people with COVID-19 every day who will develop Long Covid. With 2 million new infections this summer, the UK health system will be overwhelmed by 200mila a 400mila Long Covid patients in need of assistance. Not taking into account this still little-known condition but with its enormous health, social and economic impact, according to experts, is an error to be absolutely avoided, also in light of the fact that there is no treatment against it and the support is only symptomatic. Fortunately, a large proportion of these cases can be prevented through vaccine, which breaks down88 percent risk of infection – according to recent data from the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) – and also to transmit the virus in case of contagion, in light of the reduced viral load of vaccinated who test positive. For this reason, doctors and scientists continue to recommend the vaccination of as many people as possible and to enforce the basic anti Covid measures (social distancing, mask, hand washing), as well as planning any restrictions also taking into account the impact of Long Covid on health systems.

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