Wausau Pilot & Review

Although most people who have had COVID-19 completely recover within a few weeks, some people continue to experience symptoms after their initial recovery, according to an Aspirus Health news release issued Wednesday.

“Long COVID is a range of symptoms that can last weeks or months after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 or can appear weeks after infection,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Long COVID can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19, even if their illness was mild, or if they had no symptoms.”

Aspirus pointed to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association that showed more than half of people who had COVID-19 experienced at least one long-haul symptom six months or more after initial diagnosis.

“Long-haul COVID, or chronic COVID, or long-COVID or whatever they call it today, it references that people are having some long-term effects four or more weeks after they have been initially infected with the virus that causes COVID-19,” said Noel Deep, MD, Aspirus Regional Medical Director and an internal medicine specialist.

Available data points out that long-haul COVID-19 can happen to anyone. Additionally, a recent study found that vaccinated people are half as likely to suffer from long-term COVID-19 complications.

Most people who suffer from long-term COVID-19 effects are older adults, but it is possible for a person of any age to develop symptoms that could lead to serious medical problems.

“It’s not just the symptoms that people are having, but it also causes a negative effect on the organs,” Dr. Deep said. “It can affect your heart, your kidneys, your brain and you could develop blood clots.”

Emerging research about the latest Covid variant, Omicron, has been cautiously optimistic, Aspirus officials said. Despite its ability to spread at a rapid pace, the illness caused by Omicron appears to be milder overall, at least among the vaccinated and those who have received a booster shot.

“Prevention is the key. If you are eligible, please get your vaccine,” Dr. Deep said.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and available through numerous pharmacies and Aspirus Health.