“A long COVID can be just as bad as the flu.”
A health study in Queensland found that people with long COVID may have flu-like symptoms. According to the Guardian, medical experts said, “This is just the beginning of understanding a condition that has been debilitating for many.”
The experts all agreed that the latest vaccines keep people from having COVID symptoms for a long time.
This week in Copenhagen, the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases accepted the study done by the Department of Health.
During the study, almost 2200 people were found to have COVID and 950 were found to have the flu. This was during waves of both Omicron and the flu in the middle of 2022. 90% of the people who lived in Queensland had a COVID-19 vaccine.
Over the course of 12 weeks, the researchers asked how long the symptoms lasted and if they made it hard to do things.
The study said, “Among people with Omicron, 21% said they still had symptoms after 12 weeks, and 4% said their daily lives were limited in a moderate to severe way.” Those with influenza who reported symptoms were 23%, and those with moderate to serious functional limitations were 4%.
Professor Steven Faux, who helped run the long COVID clinic at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, said it was too soon to judge the study’s scientific quality because it hadn’t been peer-reviewed or made public. He also said that it was the first step towards urgently needed research. He also said, “It’s clear that there’s a lot to figure out here.”
Annastacia Palaszczuk, the premier of Queensland, said her government’s policy of strict border control until the state had high vaccination rates seems to have helped reduce the seriousness of long-COVID symptoms. She said she was happy with the results.
The state’s health minister, Yvette D’Ath, said, “The study showed Queensland was a textbook example of how to respond to a pandemic that happens once every 100 years.”
She said, “The study is also a good reminder that the best way to keep ourselves safe is to keep our vaccinations up to date.”
Faux agreed with that, but he pointed out that “there was no sign that the two cohorts had been matched in terms of gender and comorbidity, and that long Covid could only be diagnosed after 12 weeks.”
He thought, “Then the symptoms have to last for two months, and there can’t be any other cause for the symptoms.” And none of those things happened.”
The state’s health department told Guardian Australia that it planned to keep an eye on the same group of patients for a year and that the results would be made public later this year.
Dr. Polly Tsai, a rehabilitation doctor at Wesley hospital’s Long Covid centre, said that she would be more interested in the results of a 52-week study.
She said, “That’s probably when we’ll get a clear picture of what the long COVID is.”
“A clinic in Brisbane had treated more than 100 people of all ages, genders, and levels of health, including people in their 20s who had been fit and healthy but whose lives had been severely affected by long-term Covid for up to two years,” Tsai said.
She went on to say, “This can definitely have a big effect on their mental health if they feel like no one understands them and they’re very lonely on their journey.”
The health department said that the study had been sent to a medical journal and was still going through peer review. They hoped that the research would be made public in the next few days as an unreviewed draught.