JERUSALEM – New research shows that at least 17 million people in the European Union may have experienced lingering symptoms of COVID-19 during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic, with women more likely than men to suffer from the disease, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. of health care.
The study, conducted for the WHO/European Union, did not determine whether symptoms that persist, recur or appear for the first time at least a month after infection with the coronavirus are more common in vaccinated and unvaccinated people. At least 17 million people meet the WHO criteria Long COVID-19— with symptoms lasting at least three months in 2020 and 2021, the report said.
“Millions of people in our region of Europe and Central Asia are suffering from debilitating symptoms many months after initial exposure to COVID-19,” said Hans-Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, during a conference in Tel Aviv. .
Modeling also suggests that women are twice as likely as men to experience prolonged COVID-19, and the risk rises sharply among severe infections that require hospitalization, the report said. According to the report, one in three women and one in five men may contract long-term COVID-19.
“Knowing how many people are affected and for how long is important for health systems and government agencies to develop rehabilitation and support services,” said Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which conducted the study for WHO.
Read more: You can be sick with COVID for a long time and not even know it
The study, which presents estimates rather than the actual number of people affected, is consistent with several other recent studies of the constellation of long-term symptoms after infection with the coronavirus.
American Veterans Affairs Study published in Nature Medicines presented fresh evidence of this in May Long-lasting COVID-19 can occur even after infections break out in vaccinated people, and that the elderly face a greater risk of long-term effects. The study found that about a third of those who had breakthrough infections showed signs of long-term COVID.
A separate report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that within a year of initial exposure to the coronavirus, 1 in 4 adults age 65 and older had at least one potential health problem from COVID-19, compared with 1 in 5 younger adults people. .
Most people with COVID-19 make a full recovery. But a WHO report in Europe on Tuesday noted that between 10% and 20% develop medium- and long-term symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and cognitive dysfunction.
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