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LAist: Study Shows Insight Into the Significant Health Toll of Long COVID

LAist program “AirTalk” recently featured Kimberly Shriner, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at Huntington Health, an affiliate of Cedars-Sinai, discussing the devastating effects of long COVID.

About 10% of people who have had COVID-19 appear to suffer from long COVID, the debilitating condition that can last months or even years post-infection, according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health. 

Shriner told “AirTalk” host Larry Mantle that early variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 were likely to produce prolonged symptoms—such as brain fog, neurocognitive dysfunction, fatigue, cardiovascular complications and joint pain. She said a wide range of individuals can develop long COVID, including those who had a bad initial illness, those with underlying autoimmune diseases or immunosuppressive disorders, and even people who don’t have any other risk factors.

“Although the acute manifestations seem to have resolved, they still have really persistent symptoms, which seemed to be quite common—certainly was with Delta, Alpha and Beta viruses, but [it] also can occur with Omicron,” Shriner told Mantle.

Long COVID can disrupt everyday life for patients and force them to take short- or long-term disability leave, Shriner said. She encouraged patients experiencing lingering symptoms to seek care at a clinic specializing in long COVID, such as the one at Huntington Health, for validation of their condition and to enroll in clinical research.

Shriner told Mantle long COVID is a serious public health concern, and she hopes that as the scientific community develops a better understanding of the condition, it will allow insights into other illnesses.

“The more we understand what’s going on with the immune system in the setting of long COVID, the more we’re going to understand about other diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome and other debilitating sort of vague diseases that interrupt people’s lives,” Shriner said.   

Click here to listen to the complete episode of “AirTalk.