17 million people in Europe contracted Covid that lasted for the first two years of the pandemic: WHO

New research shows that at least 17 million people across Europe and central Asia suffered from persistent Covid within the first two years of the pandemic.

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

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

Women are also twice as likely to experience prolonged Covid-19 as men. Of the severe cases that resulted in hospitalization, a third of women were found to have persistent symptoms.

The study, conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine, involved the WHO Europe region, home to nearly 900 million people in 53 states across Europe and Central Asia.

‘Depressive symptoms’

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

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

While the majority of people fully recover from Covid, Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said the findings highlight the urgent need for more analysis and investment in follow-up. monitor the effects of this disease.

“Millions of people in our region, living in Europe and Central Asia, are suffering debilitating symptoms months after first contracting Covid-19,” Kluge said.

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

Long-term Covid cases have increased by more than 300% in 2021 compared with 2020, consistent with the nature of the disease, the study found.

Worldwide, an estimated 145 million people have long since developed Covid in 2020 and 2021, according to IHME data.

IHME director Dr Christopher Murray said the findings should also raise awareness of the lingering effects of Covid on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

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

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