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Thousands of Connecticut residents are catching COVID-19. Due to long COVID, some won’t get better anytime soon

0 2 years ago

Of several hundred thousand Connecticut residents who have been or will be infected with COVID-19 during this winter’s omicron variant surge, most will avoid the worst-case scenarios of severe illness, intensive care and death.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean their experience with the disease will be over.

Experts say the recent wave of COVID-19 infections will almost certainly lead to a corresponding wave of “long COVID,” a phenomenon in which some patients who no longer have the disease continue to experience symptoms months or even years into the future.

No one knows the exact prevalence of long COVID, but one recent study found that that between 7% and 18% of people infected with COVID-19 experienced at least some long-term symptoms. Given the number of infections in Connecticut over the past two months, that could translate to tens of thousands of long-haul cases in the state.

“The outcomes associated with a [COVID-19] infection is not just two outcomes where you’re either fine or you die,” Dr. Denyse Lutchmansingh, who treats long-COVID patients at the Winchester Center for Lung Disease at Yale New Haven Hospital, said. “There are people who develop persistent, debilitating symptoms that affect their quality of life, even with a mild case.”

Sometime soon, COVID-19 transmission will slow in Connecticut and the state will try once again to move past the pandemic. For people with long COVID, though, it won’t be so simple.

“It’s not just like you get vaccinated and eventually the variants get weaker and we just go on with our lives,” said Kristina Unker, a Ridgefield resident still fighting symptoms a year after her COVID-19 infection. “What happens to the people who now have chronic illness?


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