The World Health Organization’s Europe unit is reporting that about one in 10 people who contracted COVID-19 continue to show “persistent ill health” 12 weeks after infection.
Dr. Hans Kluge, the head of WHO Europe, says much about so-called “long COVID” remains unknown, but the “burden is real, and it is significant.”
In a policy brief released on Thursday, WHO Europe urged policymakers to do more to acknowledge and treat long COVID, which can bring severe fatigue, chest pain, heart inflammation, headache, forgetfulness, depression, loss of smell, recurrent fever, diarrhea, and ringing in the ears.
It said available data showed that about one in four people with COVID-19 show symptoms about a month after testing positive, while one in 10 experience symptoms after 12 weeks.
Kluge told reporters that the coronavirus is still spreading at “very high rates” across the 53-country European region, citing two variants of concern. However, he said fewer than 1 million new cases have been reported for a second straight week and transmission is slowing.
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