Discussion: Understanding and tracking ‘long COVID’

The World
Updated on
A COVID-19 patient is shown strapped to a yellow gurney with several medical staff moving along side in a blurred motion photograph.

Governments around the world are racing to accellerate their coronavirus vaccination campaigns. The global vaccination push is now facing an increased threat from the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, that is spreading rapidly in Europe and the United States.

The vaccination efforts were dealt a blow on Tuesday after news that rare blood clots have been reported in a handful of recipients of the Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The J&J vaccine is a key part of many governments’ vaccination campaigns because it’s a single-dose jab, making it ideal for hard-to-reach, vulnerable populations around the world.

The J&J news comes after weeks of headlines about blood clots being associated with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca’s shot.

Related discussion: Coronavirus vaccine acceptance and public attitudes

Amid the vaccine challenges and the widepread effort to counter the alarming increase in infections from the coronavirus, doctors are also working to understand so called “long COVID” — a lingering range of symptoms that persists in some people after they have initially recovered from COVID-19 illness.

As part of The World’s regular series of conversations with Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health about the pandemic, reporter Elana Gordon explored long COVID with Dr. Andrew Chan from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Chan School and Harvard Medical School.

Gordon and Dr. Chan also discussed a COVID Symptom Study app, which helps researchers track the onset and progression of symptoms that are self-reported by users.

This conversation was presented with The Forum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The AP contributed to this post.

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