Four-fold surge in long COVID cases after second wave, reveals study

New Delhi: The manifestation of post-COVID-19 complications in a number of patients is four-fold higher in the second wave as compared to the first wave, a study by Apollo Hospitals has revealed.

The long COVID cases are referred to instances where a patient suffer from COVID-related complications for longer duration and these cases have surged.

The Delta variant that caused havoc this year in April caused extreme causality and the latter was termed as virus of concern (VoC) by the Union Health Ministry saw “newer symptoms like high-grade fever, diarrhoea, severe lung infection followed by long COVID syndrome and post COVID complications like falling oxygen levels and lung fibrosis that manifested even after eight weeks or more of testing positive,” the study reads.

“Number of cases reported for long COVID and post-COVID complications after the second wave of COVID-19 has been four times more than what was reported last year,” it says.

Patients were admitted after 20-30 days of testing positive.

Known as long haul COVID cases, these patients continue to experience symptoms of the disease four weeks post the initial recovery.

Dr M S Kanwar, Lead Lung Transplant and COVID Team, Senior Consultant, Department of Pulmonology says, “After the second wave of COVID-19 we have had a large number of patients coming in with moderate to severe complications even after eight weeks of testing positive. The reason for it can be a low-grade cytokine reaction or any type of immune dysregulation that is going on in the body and which the body hasn’t been able to handle. This number is extremely high to what we had observed last year.”

“Post-COVID complications like chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgia are reported four times more in women than men. Whereas, complications like lung fibrosis are found to be more severe in men,” Dr stated.

 Other than that lung fibrosis, breathlessness and depleting oxygen levels remain some of the most reported complications noticed.

Many patients are being reported with complications such as breathlessness, prolonged weakness, extreme fatigue, recurrent headaches and fever, lung fibrosis, an increased pulse rate, various gastrointestinal issues and some uncommon complications like erectile dysfunction, hair loss and menstrual disturbances in women.

Being immunocompromised, some patients were also suffering severe post-COVID complications like mucormycosis and secondary infections.

 Recovery for such patients is taking an extended time than expected.

India reports 38,079 new cases and 560 deaths in the last 24 hours, active caseload at 4,24,025; recovery rate rises to 97.31 per cent.