Covid-19: WHO recognizes the existence of a persistent form of the disease

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In a speech on Covid-19, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) spoke for the first time about the long-term sequelae of the new coronavirus infection.

On Twitter, some former Covid-19 patients regularly report persistent symptoms. Shortness of breath, shortness of breath, chest pain, hair loss, persistent fatigue, or even psychological problems. More and more patients and studies report a chronic, or at least a longer, form of Covid-19, with symptoms that persist for months after infection, even though the person is no longer contagious (that is, after having had no symptoms for more than 48 hours, according to the General Directorate of Health).

A reality that the World Health Organization (WHO) has finally mentioned, through its Director General, in a speech on August 21.

"Last month my colleague, Dr. Maria van Kerkhove, contacted members of a group called 'Long COVID SOS', which represents patients on whom COVID-19 has long-term effects," Director General from WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said during a press conference on the pandemic.

Referring to having met some of these patients, the WHO leader said that these patients "ask for three things: recognition, rehabilitation and investigation." They want to see their long illness recognized by the health authorities, so that they can benefit from an adapted rehabilitation, for example with regular and specific monitoring, and that the research work is carried out quickly to better understand the long-term effects of Covid- 19.

"This is my response to these patients: we have understood their message and we are committed to working with countries so that they can benefit from the services they need and advance research in their favor," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Rather than just counting the number of cases and deaths, the WHO Director-General suggests expanding our vision of Covid-19 to patients who have not yet been hospitalized or who require long-term follow-up due to persistent symptoms. However, all of this "puts enormous pressure on health systems and disrupts the provision of services necessary to meet other health needs," added Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The WHO Director-General also provided an overview of the pandemic. Recalling that "progress" does not mean "victory", he said that no country can defeat the epidemic until there is a vaccine, but also that the vaccine will not do everything.

"We all need to learn to control and manage this virus using the tools we have today, and adapt our way of life to ensure our safety and that of others," said the leader. Believing that containment "is not a lasting solution for any country," he said that each person, at their level, can act in the fight against the coronavirus.

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