Leading virus experts are calling for greater help for those affected by the long-term COVID, warning that those with the condition feel abandoned by the government.
Professor Brendan Crabbe, chief executive of the Barnett Institute, said in a congressional survey that future responses to how countries deal with COVID will take into account those who have been dealing with COVID for a long time. said there was a need.
Long-term COVID is associated with patients who are still reporting symptoms or are infected with new symptoms months after their initial COVID infection.
“People who suffer, I don’t know the exact number … but there are many and, of course, varying degrees of severity,” Crabb said in a survey Monday.
“This is a group that feels left out of the discussion. Australia’s policy is largely based on acute COVID to try to protect vulnerable people.”
Monday marks the start of the deployment of the fifth dose of the COVID vaccine.
All adults who have not had a booster or COVID infection in the past 6 months are eligible to receive a booster dose to protect against the virus.
Crabb said vaccine uptake should be encouraged to reduce the long-term effects of COVID as well as reduce the severity of COVID in patients.
“The fifth dose doesn’t help people who haven’t gotten the third dose,” he said.
“The message isn’t going through it for the first time in 50 to 70 years. Life expectancy is getting shorter in Australia due to COVID-19, and that’s how important it is.”
Institute directors also called for increased measures to improve air quality in enclosed spaces as a way to curb the spread of COVID.
Crabb said the messaging surrounding COVID needs to change to account for people who have had COVID for too long.
“At least subliminally, it’s very difficult[for COVID to be taken seriously]by employers, let alone medical professionals, for example,” he said.
“There’s a lot to learn. It’s a mysterious brain fog. It sounds like it’s in your head, but it’s actually brain damage. We’ve learned what brain fog is.” Most of you know and probably should use words like that.
Professor Katherine Bennett, Chair of the Epidemiology Committee at Deakin University, told the panel that more research is needed to better understand the long COVID.
“We have concerns about research investment, quality, quantity, and especially the coordination of the research that is being done,” she said.
“Long-term COVID still needs to be fully understood, impacting our ability to generalize findings from trials and real-world data analysis on long-term COVID risk factors.”
Bennett said research in this area is also needed to look at groups who may be at higher risk of developing long-term COVID.
There is still debate about how health experts define COVID for the long haul, but Professor Bennett said a broad definition worked well in the early stages but could narrow as it becomes clearer again. rice field.
She said defining COVID broadly over time risks including too many overlapping conditions.
“Then you can’t make the best use of that register and the information collected to understand what’s going on.”