Hi Chris. I'm slightly confused as to why you're surprised. The Ken has closely monitored every aspect of the pandemic health impact since the beginning. This is another, and frankly concerning, facet of how the disease is playing out. The impact of Long Covid isn't limited to any one country. Both the UK and US are now in the process of documenting research and treating patients presenting symptoms of long covid. One such center is Mt Sinai in NY. There's a study done by the CDC that shows the following:
"In a multistate telephone survey of symptomatic adults who had a positive outpatient test result for SARS-CoV-2 infection, 35% had not returned to their usual state of health when interviewed 2–3 weeks after testing. Among persons aged 18–34 years with no chronic medical conditions, one in five had not returned to their usual state of health.
COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness, even among young adults without underlying chronic medical conditions. Effective public health messaging targeting these groups is warranted."
For more India specific data, we spoke with Dr Sandeep Budhiraja of Max Healthcare, who had the following to say:
"Three months back, Max Hospital put a tele-calling system in place with a structured questionnaire and conducted a survey. They contacted all patients with moderate severity of illness who had earlier been hospitalised. One in two patients interviewed complained of lingering symptoms. “Of over 1000 patients that we called, up to 48% complained of some sort of symptoms which were persistent six to twelve weeks. 90% had fatigue, shortness of breath, muscular, joint and chest pains. Two or three per cent had any significant problems which needed medical attention or re-hospitalisation. There was just one death among all people whom we followed up.”
We hope ICMR's national registry yields more specific data. But in the meantime, media outfits should talk responsibly about what the after effects of Covid are, and give survivors a voice. If you'd like to read more, you can check out several pieces on the topic in NYT and The Atlantic.