Why do some COVID-19 patients experience symptoms months later?
In this Thursday, May 14, 2020 photo, a junior doctor holds his stethoscope during a patient visit. (Hannah McKay/Pool Photo via AP)
TORONTO -- Tens of thousands of people in Ontario alone have reported experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 weeks, sometimes months, after being diagnosed with the virus.
The symptoms can vary in severity and can include brain fog, anxiety, excessive fatigue, muscle pain, respiratory difficulties and chronic coughing—and for many, the road to recovery is long and frustrating.
In September, Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table released a report finding that at least 57,000 to 78,000 people in the province had experienced a post-COVID-19 condition following their initial diagnosis.
More than 200 different symptoms impacting 10 body organs were identified by the science table as being associated with COVID-19.
“It can affect anybody who is infected,” Fahad Razak, internal medicine physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and a member of the COVID-19 science advisory table, told CTV News Toronto at the time.
“And unlike the infection itself, where we clearly saw that it was more severe and we were worried most about older individuals or individuals who had a lot of health conditions, the post-COVID condition, or long COVID can affect anybody.”
In this week's episode of Life Unmasked, the team speaks with Dr. Angela Cheung, the co-lead investigator of the Canadian COVID-19 Prospective Cohort Study (CANCOV), who talks about what she has seen through all four waves of the pandemic. The study has at least 17,000 participants.
Suzie Goulding, the founder of COVID Long Haulers Canada, also joins the team to talk about her experience with undiagnosed COVID-19 and how the country is not doing enough to support those with chronic symptoms.
The World Health Organization has said that about one in four people infected with COVID-19 have experienced a post-COVID-19 condition for at least one month. One in 10 people experience symptoms lasting beyond 12 weeks.
Life Unmasked airs first on the iHeart app every Tuesday morning before becoming available on other streaming platforms. If you have questions for the podcast team, or an idea for an episode, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.