people masks covid long
© Nicholas Felix/peopleimages.comExperts said the term came into use after high volumes of people struggled to recover from COVID at once, saying the longer recovery period some experience after a viral illness would normally go unnoticed.
Follow the science — right out the door.

The term "long COVID" should be tossed aside like a stack of expired N95 masks — that's according to health experts in one country, who found that symptoms of those reportedly suffering a year on weren't any different than your typical virus, such as the flu.

Government-backed medical researchers in Australia say it's time to stop using the fear-inducing phrase, which became popular after high volumes of people testing positive for COVID-19 led to a surge in generally non-severe "virus fatigue symptoms" that would normally have gone unnoticed, South West News Service reported.

"We believe it is time to stop using terms like 'long COVID,'" said Dr. John Gerrard, Queensland's chief health officer, who oversaw the newly released study.

long covi not real
© brizmaker - stock.adobe.comAn Australian government agency study found that symptoms of so-called "long COVID" were no different from those who struggled to recover from other viral illnesses.
"They wrongly imply there is something unique and exceptional about longer-term symptoms associated with this virus," he explained.

"This terminology can cause unnecessary fear, and in some cases, hyper-vigilance to longer symptoms that can impede recovery," Gerrard warned.

Researchers at Queensland Health surveyed 5,112 symptom sufferers age 18 and older to reach their conclusion.

Symptoms reported included fatigue, brain fog, cough, shortness of breath, change to smell and taste, dizziness, and rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Researchers pulled their subjects from a pool of sick Australians who'd taken COVID-19 tests — testing both positive and negative — in late spring 2022, quizzing them a year later on their symptoms and quality of life.

Sixteen percent of respondents said they were experiencing symptoms in spring 2023, while 3.6 percent reported "moderate-to-severe functional impairment" in their daily lives.

No evidence was found that adults who tested positive in 2022 were experiencing this increased level of impairment at a higher rate than those who tested negative, or those who simply had the flu.

The study noted that rates of diagnosed "long COVID" were lower than in other countries, due to tight restrictions imposed by the Australian government during the pandemic.

The finished document is due to be presented next month at 2024's European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Barcelona.

"In health systems with highly vaccinated populations, long COVID may have appeared to be a distinct and severe illness because of high volumes of COVID-19 cases during the pandemic," Gerrard said.

"However, we found that the rates of ongoing symptoms and functional impairment are indistinguishable from other post-viral illnesses," he continued.

"These findings underscore the importance of comparing post-COVID-19 outcomes with those following other respiratory infections, and of further research into post-viral syndromes."