The Long Covid phenomenon is still not fully understood. At the same time, at least 17 million people were affected in Europe alone, according to an analysis. The WHO is now calling for more efforts in the fight against the disease.
According to an analysis carried out for the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 17 million people in Europe were affected by long-COVID symptoms in the first two years of the pandemic. For the model calculation, the University of Washington had evaluated cases in the 53 European member states, as announced by the Copenhagen-based WHO Europe Office. The criterion was a symptom duration of at least three months in 2020 and/or 2021.
The study suggests that women are twice as likely to develop Long Covid than men, the WHO said. In addition, the long-Covid risk increases drastically after a severe corona infection, the treatment of which required hospitalization. According to the model calculation, one in three affected women and one in five affected men struggle with symptoms of Long Covid after such a severe course.
"We still have a lot to learn about Long Covid," said WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge during a WHO meeting in Tel Aviv. "But this data makes it clear that we urgently need more analysis, more investment, more support and more solidarity with those affected." Millions of people suffered from debilitating symptoms in the months following a corona infection. "They cannot continue to suffer in silence. Governments and health partners must work together to find research- and evidence-based solutions."
Long-Covid symptoms include fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, and depression. They usually appear within the first three months after infection and last at least two months. According to the study, around 145 million people worldwide were affected by long-Covid symptoms in the first two years of the pandemic.