Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — November 23, 2022

“Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

600.  This will be the final edition of the FAQ Column.

         Q:  Why continue this column when Covid-19 is not seen by many as a problem?

         A:  That is a valid criticism!  Covid-19 is no longer in the forefront of people’s minds.  This in spite of public health experts’ concerns over not being prepared for future surges or new mutations.  Also, in spite of the growing concerns over what is called “long-Covid,” the morbidity and mortality that Covid-19 might be causing long after the infectious disease has been resolved.

To wrap up what highlights do exist during the last week of November 2022, the following is offered before we cease publishing routine weekly updates:

  • Updated vaccinations and booster shots are the most effective way to stay safe from contracting Covid-19 and long covid consequences. Have you individually had all your recommended shots?
  • The political hesitancy over Covid vaccinations has created a reduction of many to get other vaccinations. Fewer numbers of people are getting their flu shots this year than before.  The prevalence and number of seriously ill flu patients this year is very high.  Have you individually had your flu shot this year?  Did you know that Covid-19 and flu shots can be taken at the same time?
  • The CDC recently did another study highlighting the risk of contracting one of 14 different long-Covid chronic conditions up to two years after infectious Covid-19 has been resolved.
    • Of the patients ages 18-64 who have recovered from Covid-19, 35.4% have come down with one or more of these chronic conditions. For those over age 64, 45.4% have displayed long-Covid.
    • The most common condition is fatigue (84%) and the least common is breathing difficulties (42%).
    • While most of these conditions eventually disappear, many don’t and become lifetime chronic conditions.
    • Some of these Covid-related conditions have first emerged after a delay of months and years.
  • Researchers are now finding evidence that many of these chronic conditions can be considered correlated with Covid-19, and early treatment can be important in resolving the conditions earlier.
    • The October 2022 issue of Consumer Reports magazine identifies many specialists one can turn to for managing some of these post-Covid conditions in their early stages.
    • The same magazine also identifies there are post-covid clinics becoming available for multi-specialty treatment of multiple condition.
    • There are many such specialized clinics in Connecticut. However, each requires a referral from your primary care physician.  Many people who do not have a primary care physician currently are having trouble finding one.  The Hartford HealthCare System, for one, has a center to call to find and quickly book an appointment for an available primary care physician.  Other healthcare systems may have similar resources available.
  • China has begun releasing the public from severe restrictions as part of its “Zero Covid Policy.” But large outbreaks have occurred slowing their “return to normal.”  Many experts feel this is due to a lack of natural immunity from large numbers recovering from the disease.  This makes the remaining population highly vulnerable for future outbreaks.  The economic impact probably will continue long into the future.
  • Many experts predict that in the coming months there will be another surge of Covid-19 cases. And many also agree the currently available preparations are not adequate to overcome the public’s perceptions that all is well.  It is anticipated that further restrictions will be hard if not impossible to be publicly acceptable.
  • More federal funding is needed to continue to provide at no cost to the public the vaccines, therapeutics, patient care and research into long-Covid. Because of the Republican control of Congress after January 1, 2023. The lame duck Congress is now striving to approve the $9.25 billion needed.  Also at risk is the restocking of the National Strategic Stockpile with personal protective equipment (gowns, gloves and masks) and other supplies to quickly respond to any future public health emergency.
  • Finally, going forward, always keep your Covid and influenza shots up to date.