Experts hold meeting on long COVID

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Long COVID is the ongoing public health challenge doctors and scientists all over the world are trying to figure out.

News10NBC listened in on the meeting of a group of experts to hear what they know, and still need to know about long COVID.

Simply put, doctors say long COVID is the symptoms associated with the virus that stick with you long after your initial infection.

"Since the onset of this pandemic 2 years ago all of us have been affected by this virus whether physically, mentally, emotionally, financially," said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.

Now, Bassett says the problem of long COVID warrants a significant state response to this national, and international problem. Bassett said a portion of individuals who have been affected with COVID-19 continue to experience persistent, or new symptoms.

"Fatigue, experience shortness of breath, headaches, chest pain, even difficulty thinking, and concentrating. What people call brain fog," Bassett said.

Doctors said the medical community must focus on those whose COVID-19 symptoms stay with them long after the acute phase of infection has passed. Immunologists are turning to animal research.

"We are creating animal models to study various aspects of COVID immunity, including some that reflect long-term symptoms," said Immunologist and Yale Professor Dr. Akiko Iwasaki.

One big issue with long COVID is the diversity of symptoms, and of core target organs that can be affected.

"I would say from a medical, and physician’s perspective something that really needs better diagnosis, better surveillance tools," said Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Dr. Michael Roehrl,

Dr. Bassett added, "When the pandemic phase of COVID finally ends we will still have much to do to navigate our relationship with the virus and make sure that we provide necessary supports to those who are recovering."

Doctors say long COVID can also be experienced by those who even had a mild case of COVID-19. Symptoms can last from a few months to several years. Bassett says New York now has a network of 26 post COVID care centers across the state.