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Long covid: Damage to multiple organs presents in young, low risk patients

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 17 November 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4470

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COVID-19 Long Term Damages: Possible Issues

Dear Editor,

COVID-19 long term effects are not yet known with certainty. However, there are many hypotheses and, recently, some symptoms have been identified that appear to be frequent in COVID-19 patients even after the termination of the infection (1). The mechanisms underlying the onset of these symptoms are still unknown. Dennis A et al. highlighted the possibility of developing multi-organ impairment in low-risk individuals with long COVID (2). The results of the research, although preliminary, are still very worrying.

The risk that COVID-19 may cause long-term effects, even severe ones, is becoming particularly concrete. At this point, some issues arise in relation to the management of the pandemic by the various world governments. In fact, especially in this second phase of the health emergency, the public health policies of many countries are characterized by a reduction of preventive strategies (e.g. closure of business activities, maximum use of smart working, limitation of travel between cities, etc.). In the majority of world countries, in fact, until the National Health Systems resist, rigid measures are not implemented to reduce the spread of the COVID-19.

It is considered that - in view of the current lack of knowledge of COVID-19 long term effects - stricter public health strategies should be put in place not only with the aim of reducing pressure on National Health Systems, but above all with the aim of reducing the simple spread of the virus and the number of infected, even if asymptomatic. In fact, even in asymptomatic subjects, we do not know if they will develop long-term complications in the future. So it is crucial that we not only monitor the number of admissions and the level of saturation in hospitals, but also the number of people infected. This should be the basic parameter for deciding whether it is necessary to stiffen public limitations (up to total lockdowns). Obviously the immediate consequence of rigid public health policies is immediate economic damage. However, in the long term, this strategy could encourage a faster recovery of the economy, because it prevents that, in the future, a large number of people with serious post-COVID diseases can saturate the National Health Systems and, therefore, also induce economic collapse.

References.

1. CDC. Long-Term Effects of COVID-19.
2. Dennis A, Wamil M, Kapur S, Alberts J, Badley AD. Multi-organ impairment in low-risk individuals with long COVID. .

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 November 2020
Andrea Cioffi
Doctor under training in Forensic Medicine
Sapienza University of Rome
Viale Regina Elena, 336