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The long COVID game

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After the World Health Organization announced on May 5 that COVID-19 pandemic was no longer deemed a “global health emergency,” its European office earlier this week warned that the risk of COVID-19 has not gone away, saying it was still responsible for nearly 1,000 deaths a week in the region.

“Whilst it may not be a global public health emergency, however, COVID-19 has not gone away,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said.

The WHO European region comprises 53 countries, including several in central Asia.

“Close to 1,000 new COVID-19 deaths continue to occur across the region every week, and this is an underestimate due to a drop in countries regularly reporting COVID-19 deaths to WHO,” Kluge added as he urged authorities to ensure vaccination coverage of at least 70 percent for vulnerable groups.

He also estimated that one in 30, or some 36 million people, in the region had experienced so called “long COVID” in the last three years, which “remains a complex condition we still know very little about.”

“Unless we develop comprehensive diagnostics and treatment for long COVID, we will never truly recover from the pandemic,” Kluge said, encouraging more research in the area which he called an under-recognized condition.

In our excitement to get back to normal, it is easy for us to forget, intentionally or not, of the threats and devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic wrought upon humanity. Now that we can finally declare that is no longer an emergency, after almost three years of trying almost everything in the book, we need to be aware that it is still affecting thousands, if not millions of lives today.

Aside from the mild infections that have become quite common and no longer scary, severe infections, long COVID, and even deaths can still be attributed to the coronavirus that humanity, with all its technology and miracles of modern medicine, has not yet eliminated. We will have to learn to live with COVID, and that means doing more than just ignoring it, in the hope that doing so will make it go away.*

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