(WHNT) — Earlier this week, Alabama health officials discussed the effects of what’s being called “long COVID” after the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) was awarded a federal grant to research the long term implications of the virus.
Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo from UAB says a recent JAMA review, which gathered studies from countries across the globe, reported the condition is quite widespread.
Marrazzo says people can experience long COVID-19 even if their symptoms were mild enough that they did not need to be hospitalized.
She stated studies have found some common symptoms of long COVID include fatigue, weakness, fever sweats, night sweats, and sometimes lymph nodes, brain fog, and dizziness.
“Their concentration is significantly impaired, their memory is impaired… they just don’t feel like themselves,” Marrazzo said.
The federal government is invested in learning more about long COVID with the National Institutes of Health spending 400 million dollars on a recovery study. UAB was awarded their grant to study with partners at Louisiana State University and the University of South Alabama.
“We are going to be enrolling 900 people from those three sites starting, we hope next month,” Marrazzo said. “We don’t have everything quite ready yet, but we are very interested in enrolling people ideally with recent COVID or current COVID.”
Doctors say people with long COVID often suffer in silence.
“It’s almost like you have this invisible suffering because these patients no longer… they don’t express that their life has been so altered and they try to put that face forward that ‘I’m grateful that I’m doing as well as I am’ but internally, they struggle,” said Dr. Aruna Arora, head of the Medical Association of Alabama.
The officials hope to spread awareness about this condition, showing people yet another risk associated with contracting COVID-19.
“Clearly there is a lot more at risk than what happens during the acute illness itself,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.
Doctors say people who are vaccinated are also at risk for long COVID, so they urge everyone to continue practicing the current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent the spread of the virus.