Some Long COVID Patients Are Finally Recovering

Some Long COVID Patients Are Finally Recovering

BY MANDY OAKLANDER Wednesday, June 9, 2021 Source Time “The Coronavirus Brief”

Some Long COVID Patients Are Finally Recovering

Many people with what’s become known as “Long COVID” have suffered in uncertainty for more than a year. The lingering fatigue, headaches, chronic pain, GI problems and brain fog that characterize the condition plague between 10-30% of COVID-19 patients, and reports of recovery have been sparse—until now. Recently, some people with Long COVID are finally getting better, my colleague Jamie Ducharme reports.

Jamie started noticing a trend when reaching out to people she had interviewed for earlier stories about Long COVID. “Two of them recently told me, within the same week, that they were feeling much better,” Jamie says. “That caught my attention, because for a long time, the news about Long COVID was almost never good.”

What changed? That’s one of the questions doctors and patients are grappling with, and there’s no definitive answer. For some patients, recovery is simply a matter of time. Others have anecdotally reported that exercise and physical therapy have helped. Getting vaccinated seems to be another solution for some; one woman Jamie spoke with, 32-year-old Lana Lynch, noticed improvements after receiving her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Though she was sidelined by Long COVID for about a year, “I feel confident enough to declare myself cured,” she said.

Not every Long COVID patient is getting better just yet, and figuring out why some are recovering while others are not is a hot topic in medicine. It’s possible that getting vaccinated helps fully clear the virus from a patient’s body, but far more research into the phenomenon is needed. Scientists still aren’t even sure why people get Long COVID in the first place—some theorize that it’s caused by the virus lingering in the body, or that it’s the result of an overactive autoimmune response that doesn’t stop even when the virus is cleared.

People who have recovered after enduring Long COVID for a year or more told Jamie how lucky they feel to finally feel like themselves again—and that they hope stories like theirs become more common. “While there are still many Long COVID patients who are struggling, and doctors still have a lot to learn, I thought it was worth highlighting that improvement is possible,” Jamie says.

Read more here.


VACCINE TRACKER

About 372.1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been shipped to various U.S. states as of this afternoon, of which 303.9 million doses have been administered thus far, according to TIME’s vaccine tracker. About 42.3% of Americans have been completely vaccinated.

Pfizer and BioNTech have started testing their vaccine in children under 12 and as young as five, the Wall Street Journal reports. If the study goes well, the companies will seek authorization for use in this group in September. Studies involving children ages six months to five years could follow. Moderna is also testing its vaccine in kids as young as five, and could have results by the fall.

In a study published today in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers found that receiving a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was linked to a small increased risk of an autoimmune blood disorder (called immune thrombocytopenia purpura, or ITP) and other bleeding and vascular events. These adverse effects are very rare, the researchers stress, and comparable to side effects from other, long-available vaccines like those for hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella and the flu. The researchers looked at data from more than 2.5 million adults in Scotland who had been vaccinated for COVID-19 with either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.


TODAY’S CORONAVIRUS OUTLOOK

The Global Situation

More than 173.9 million people around the world had been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of 1 a.m. E.T. today, and more than 3.7 million people have died. On June 8, there were 368,310 new cases and 10,410 new deaths confirmed globally.

Here’s how the world as a whole is currently trending:

Here’s where daily cases have risen or fallen over the last 14 days, shown in confirmed cases per 100,000 residents:

And here is every country with over 3 million confirmed cases:

More than 47,000 wild animals were sold in unsanitary, crowded markets in Wuhan, China in the 2.5 years before the novel coronavirus outbreak began there, according to a new study, painting a much different picture than the World Health Organization’s recent investigation into the pandemic’s origins, the Wall Street Journal reports. The study, published this week in the journal Scientific Reports, found that these animals were butchered in unhygienic conditions and included species known to carry COVID-19, like mink, badgers, civets and raccoon dogs. Much of the wildlife was illegally sold without health or origin checks.

As the European Union opens to vaccinated travelers this summer, member countries are bracing for an influx of tourists after a year of respite from visitors. Government officials are relieved to have the badly needed money, but locals are advocating for new limits on the tourism industry, my colleague Ciara Nugent reports. In Barcelona, for example, some residents want strict caps on Airbnb rentals and for officials to buy empty commercial spaces and fill them with local-oriented businesses. “Tourism had eaten up all of the public space and relegated us locals to a role of extras on a set,” one Barcelonan told Ciara.

The Situation in the U.S.

The U.S. had recorded more than 33.3 million coronavirus cases as of 1 a.m. E.T. today. More than 598,300 people have died. On June 8, there were 15,150 new cases and 380 new deaths confirmed in the U.S.

Here’s how the country as a whole is currently trending:

Here’s where daily cases have risen or fallen over the last 14 days, shown in confirmed cases per 100,000 residents:

The Biden Administration will purchase 500 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine to donate to about 100 countries over the next two years, the New York Times reports. U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to formally announce the plan at the G7 meeting this week. The White House has been under global pressure to share vaccines with other nations in order to help rectify their shortages. Though Biden previously pledged to send 80 million doses to other countries by the end of this month, critics have said that’s not enough, and that the U.S. must also help shore up other countries’ vaccine manufacturing and distribution capabilities. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its travel guidance this week for more than 100 countries based on the severity of their COVID-19 outbreaks. The CDC recommends that all Americans avoid traveling to “level 4” countries—like Haiti, Brazil, India and Nicaragua—all of which have reported more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past month. (If travel is essential, “make sure you are fully vaccinated,” the guidance reads, but it warns that you could still be at risk for contracting and spreading a coronavirus variant.) Level 1 destinations, including Australia, Iceland and more than 30 others, are classified as the safest to visit, yet the CDC still recommends being vaccinated before traveling. All numbers unless otherwise specified are from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and are accurate as of June 9, 1 a.m. E.T. To see larger, interactive versions of these maps and charts, click here. WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW Why Do We Turn to the Word ‘Surreal’ During Disasters? The word “surreal” is one of the most searched terms whenever tragedy strikes—including the 9/11 terror attacks and, most recently, the coronavirus pandemic. Writer Jess McHugh explores why people reach for philosophical words to explain the inconceivable. Read more here. How Individualism Ruined the U.S.’s Pandemic Response The pandemic is a collective problem that the U.S. is continuing to try to solve individualistically—to everyone’s detriment, writes Ed Yong in The Atlantic. Instead of prioritizing measures that could have protected entire communities, like rapid testing, improved ventilation and sick-pay policies, the country remained laser-focused on vaccines, leaving many vulnerable people to fend for themselves. Read more here. Thanks for reading. We hope you find the Coronavirus Brief newsletter to be a helpful tool to navigate this very complex situation, and welcome feedback at [email protected]. If you have specific questions you’d like us to answer, please send them to [email protected]. If you were forwarded this and want to sign up to receive it daily, click here. Today’s newsletter was written by Mandy Oaklander and edited by Alex Fitzpatrick.
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