Published on April 24, an Australian parliamentary report, “Sick and tired: Casting a long shadow,” gave Long COVID sufferers a voice but minimised the impact of the ongoing pandemic and the resulting Long COVID crisis.

The inquiry, commissioned last September, received 566 submissions, many from Long COVID sufferers. Scientists and doctors testified to the high level of concern.

A drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, January 8, 2022. [AP Photo/Mark Baker]

Hundreds of sufferers outlined the debilitating nature of their condition, especially brain fog. Many related the difficulty in getting a diagnosis or getting access to suitable treatment. Their submissions form an appendix to the report.

Mary Klestadt, for example, related: “I had gone from a person who had a full and busy life, ran (a) communications (business) and a web site … to someone who could barely hold a conversation and couldn’t manage paying bills.”

One submission outlined the situation of a family member who contracted COVID working in an aged care facility.

“Their Long COVID symptoms include ongoing fatigue, headaches, coughing, breathing problems, trouble sleeping, difficulties focusing on tasks due to fatigue and an ongoing feeling of ill health. My family member has no access to any Long COVID specialised treatment clinics in their area in regional Victoria, with most being located in city/metropolitan areas.”

Another submission stated: “Being a patient suffering Long Covid in Australia is horrendous. Diagnosis is very slow, GPs (General Practitioners) are hard to book, there is no real knowledge and no real diagnosis, no medication to help symptoms because they are simply thought they will eventually resolve after months of suffering.”

The WSWS has correctly characterised Long-COVID as a mass disabling event that will have devastating consequences for generations as the pandemic rages on. As our series reported, Eric Jeffrey Topol and his team published a study in Nature Reviews Microbiology in January that estimated that 65 million people are now suffering from Long COVID worldwide. This is undoubtedly an underestimate of the true extent of the crisis.

There is no national registry of Long COVID cases in Australia. Estimates of the prevalence depends on the definition of Long COVID applied. According to the Burnet Institute, 500,000 adults have Long COVID in Australia.

This toll could more than double by the end of this year. Kirby Institute epidemiologist Raina MacIntyre’s submission to the inquiry reported: “The model estimated that with a vaccine-only policy and no other efforts to mitigate transmission, almost all Australians will be infected at least once in the time window from January 2021 to August 2023. The total people with Long COVID by December 2023 is 1,323,482, with 43,910 of these being children 0-4 years of age.”

Source link