The risks of 'medium COVID'

A plethora of research suggests that the risk of severe health complications is highest in the weeks — not months — after a COVID-19 infection, yet this crucial period is often lumped into the broader term "long COVID-19," Benjamin Mazer, MD, wrote in an Oct. 11 article for The Atlantic.

Dr. Mazer, an assistant professor of pathology at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine, said the most serious COVID-19 complications occur in the first 12 weeks after an initial illness.

"This period of time is so menacing, in fact, that it really ought to have its own, familiar name: medium COVID," he wrote. 

Numerous studies suggest these health risks may lessen as time advances. For example, Swedish researchers found the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism was 32 times higher in the first month after detecting COVID-19 and fell to just two times higher after 60 days. 

Despite these differences, most studies research health outcomes in one large bucket called "long COVID," according to Dr. Mazer.

"Medium COVID may be time-limited, but it is far from rare — and not always mild," he wrote. "It can mean a month or two of profound fatigue, crushing headaches, and vexing chest pain. It can lead to life-threatening medical complications. It needs recognition, research, and new treatments. For millions of people, medium COVID is as bad as it gets."

View the full article here.


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