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Osterholm says the main challenge right now is solving long COVID

Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH

As we begin year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still some questions about the full effects of the virus, including the mystery being referred to as long COVID.

In Minnesota, deaths and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are down from the peaks they saw in January and the weeks that followed, and experts like Dr. Michael Osterholm are crediting vaccines for the reduction in less severe cases.

News Talk 830 WCCO host Chad Hartman recently had a fight with COVID-19, and now that he is on the mend, he discussed his symptoms and concerns over long COVID with Osterholm.

When it comes to what exactly long COVID is, Osterholm says that there are several symptoms, both visible and not, that patients can experience.

“You may start to feel better, but then three and four weeks out, you start to get severe fatigue, brain fog. We see cardiac changes in the heart. We see lung changes that are concerning,” Osterholm said.

With the U.S. and parts of the world beginning to change how they see the pandemic, more efforts are being pushed to understand long COVID and its impact on those suffering from it.

“Long COVID to me is really the challenge we have right now,” Osterholm said.

Another concern experts have is that the statistics don’t give a clear picture when it comes to your chances of experiencing long COVID if you get infected.

Osterholm says that anywhere from 5% to 45% of people who catch COVID, whether it’s severe or mild, end up with long COVID, which he says impacts everything from the workforce to the economy to health care resources.

While experts continue to try and figure out how to solve the mystery of the disease after the disease, Osterholm says that getting vaccinated and boosted are the key to stopping any future variants.

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