To those who haven’t experienced it, it’s been something of a mystery, and even among those who have suffered the effects, the experiences haven’t always been the same. What exactly is “long covid”?
The answer might seem obvious, given the simplicity of the term; it’s a case of the virus that knocks you down for a while. But as Grid’s Public Health Reporter Jonathan Lambert explained in this week’s episode of “No Dumb Questions,” long covid is a complex and ill-defined condition that afflicts somehere between 11 million to 24 million in the United States alone. The term itself, Lambert said, is “a catch-all” for symptoms and experiences that remain “unclear to a lot of scientists.” In this sense, the pandemic is still young; a full understanding of the prevalence, causes and optimal treatment for long covid may be months if not years away.
All of which is to say, it’s not only not a dumb question; it’s a difficult and important question, and one that’s likely to be with us as long as the virus itself. So we turn to Lambert to answer this week’s question: What is long covid?
We’d love to hear from you with other ideas for the series. We like to think there are no “dumb questions”; or, put differently, that there’s almost nothing out there in the world of news and information that couldn’t use a little more clarity and context in terms of the answers. We also know that we have really smart readers, and that even the smartest among them can’t be expected to have every shred of important context or background on all the events that are roiling the world at any given moment. Send your ideas and questions to email@example.com.
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Thanks to Lillian Barkley for copy editing this article.