Home MarketsEurope & Middle East 17 million in Europe got long Covid in the first two years of the pandemic: WHO

17 million in Europe got long Covid in the first two years of the pandemic: WHO

by SuperiorInvest

New research suggests that at least 17 million people across Europe and Central Asia suffered from long-term Covid during the first two years of the pandemic.

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At least 17 million people in Europe suffered from “long Covid” during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study published by the World Health Organization on Tuesday.

About 10% to 20% of all Covid-19 cases reported in 2020 and 2021 across the region resulted in lingering effects lasting at least three months, with symptoms ranging from chronic fatigue to brain fog and shortness of breath, the report said.

Women were also twice as likely as men to experience a long period of Covid. Among the severe cases leading to hospitalization, one in three women had long-term symptoms.

The research, conducted by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine, concerns the WHO European Region, which is home to nearly 900 million people in 53 countries in Europe and Central Asia.

“Debilitating Symptoms”

Long Covid refers to the range of medium and long-term effects that can occur after a Covid infection. These can include fatigue, shortness of breath, and cognitive dysfunction such as confusion and forgetfulness.

Some people’s mental health can also be affected, either directly or indirectly.

While most people have fully recovered from Covid, Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said the findings highlight the urgent need for further analysis and investment to monitor the lingering effects of the disease.

“Millions of people in our region, which spans Europe and Central Asia, suffer from debilitating symptoms many months after their initial infection with Covid-19,” Kluge said.

“They cannot continue to suffer in silence,” he continued. “Governments and health partners must work together to find solutions based on research and evidence.”

The number of long-term Covid cases increased by more than 300% in 2021 compared to 2020, in line with the protracted nature of the disease, a study has found.

According to IHME data, an estimated 145 million people worldwide fell ill with prolonged Covid in 2020 and 2021.

Director of IHME, Dr. Christopher Murray, said the findings should also raise awareness of the long-term implications of Covid for mental health and well-being in the workplace.

“Knowing how many people are affected and for how long is important for health systems and government agencies to develop rehabilitation and support services,” Murray said.

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