Uncovering the Prolonged Spread of Coronavirus in Australia

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A global review suggests that a minimum of one in ten individuals who contract the virus will experience long-term consequences, but this may be overestimated.

A thorough probe into long COVID has established a “conservative” evaluation that at least 10% of those who contract the virus will experience lingering symptoms. However, there are still inquiries about this figure and its relevance to Australia.

Released this past Friday in Nature Reviews Microbiology, the article analyses already completed studies. Their hypothesis states that 10-30% of non-hospitalised COVID cases and 50-70% of hospitalised patients will experience long COVID effects, while vaccinated individuals make up a smaller range with an estimated 10 – 12%. In conclusion, they propose that as much as half of all patients suffering from long-term symptoms related to coronavirus can classify themselves under Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Unless measures are taken, many suffering from long COVID may face permanent disabilities.

According to Professor Mark Morgan, Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care (REC-QC), Australia’s situation may not be similar.

“Fortunately, the number of individuals in Australia who experience persistent symptoms or develop new signs after acute COVID infection appears to be relatively low,” said Professor Morgan.

“Australia has managed to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19 during alpha and delta waves, making it one possible explanation for their current successes.

“Before the ramifications of COVID were felt throughout Australia, many individuals had already been vaccinated.”

Last month the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) published a detailed review based on existing studies, indicating that 5–10% of infections could cause extended COVID-related issues. The AIHW authors pointed out that data is scarce in Australia due to the later widespread onset of the virus throughout communities compared to other countries.
“Nevertheless, these figures may be overestimated since all the studies are based on self-reports of long COVID and do not involve a control group to adjust for potential symptoms in those who haven’t had COVID-19,” the AIHW review states.

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