Fatigue, headaches and chest pain: Medical experts try to establish ‘long Covid’ diagnosis for patients with lasting symptoms

Some Covid-19 patients are experiencing shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches and “brain fog” for months to nearly a year after their initial illness. Now, global medical experts are working to better diagnose and treat them for what they are tentatively calling “long Covid.”

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization hosted a global meeting with “patients, clinicians and other stakeholders” to advance the agency’s understanding of what’s medically referred to as post-Covid condition, also known as long Covid, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.

The gathering was the first of many to come. The goal will be to eventually create an “agreed clinical description” of the condition so doctors will be able to diagnose and effectively treat patients, he said. Given how many people have been infected with the virus globally — nearly 108 million people as of Friday — Tedros warned it’s likely many will experience these lingering symptoms.

“This illness affects patients with both severe and mild Covid-19,” Tedros said during a press briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. “Part of the challenge is that patients with long Covid could have a range of different symptoms that can be persistent or can come and go.”

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