A science advisory group said in a report on Tuesday that more research is needed to understand the so-called “prolonged COVID” situation and the burden on the health care system.
The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, a group that provides guidance to the province on the pandemic, said post-COVID-19 symptoms affect about 10 percent of those infected and can last for weeks to months.
Fahd Razak, lead author of the report, said: “There is less recognition for the public, but also among physicians, of the condition because it is difficult to define and quantify and because we don’t have a lot of information about it.” .
A conservative estimate suggests that about 150,000 Canadians who contract the novel coronavirus experience prolonged COVID-19 symptoms, Razak said. In Ontario, 57,000 to 78,000 people are affected.
Among the more than 200 different symptoms, the most common include fatigue, shortness of breath, general pain or restlessness, anxiety and depression.
Razak said individuals experiencing such symptoms have difficulty performing daily activities and need increased health care resources.
“This burden will not only be on the health system, it will also fall on other parts of society because a lot of disabilities are not just about medical care, it’s about the fact that individuals can’t go back to work, it’s That they need a supportive home, this is the difficulty in work and family life, ”he said.
The World Health Organization has reported that nearly one in four people who were infected with the virus experience prolonged COVID symptoms for at least a month. Meanwhile, one in 10 people experience symptoms that last for more than 12 weeks.
The Ontario Science Advisory Group said more research is needed on long-term risk factors for COVID. Razak said that vaccination reduces the chances of developing the condition post-Covid-19.
So far, about 84.5 percent of Ontarians over the age of 12 have received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 78.2 percent have received two doses.
Razak said the latest report from the Science Advisory Group looked at data from past waves of the pandemic and did not take into account virus types – such as delta and alpha.
“We don’t have the data yet to know the impact,” he said. “The concern is that those variants are obviously more contagious so we are potentially running into a problem where we are going to see higher rates of the condition post-COVID.”
The science group said there is limited Canadian data on health care access patterns for patients with long-term COVID, including emergency department visits and hospital admissions. A pan-Canadian study is currently being conducted to examine these patterns for taller COVID-19 patients.