COPENHAGEN (Denmark), June 27 (AP) — Nearly 36 million people in Europe could develop long-term health problems from contracting the coronavirus during the first three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization’s regional director said Tuesday.
Dr Hans Kruger said the “long-standing coronavirus” remains “a complex disease that we still know very little about” and “a clear blind spot in our knowledge”.
“Unless we develop comprehensive diagnostics and treatments for long-term COVID-19, we will never truly recover from the pandemic,” Kruger said, reiterating that the elderly, people with underlying medical conditions and other immune systems are weaker. Weak people should continue to be vaccinated.
While most people recover within a few weeks of contracting COVID-19, some report persistent fatigue, shortness of breath and brain fog.
The WHO European Region covers 53 countries, from Ireland to Uzbekistan, with a combined population of more than 900 million people. Kruger said statistics from researchers at the University of Washington show that about one-third of the area’s residents have experienced “prolonged COVID-19” in the past three years.
The virus has unleashed once-unimaginable lockdowns, upended economies and killed millions around the world, the roots of which have yet to be identified.
Last month, the World Health Organization said COVID-19 was no longer a global emergency. The announcement comes more than three years after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus an international crisis.
The U.N. health agency said that did not mean the pandemic was over, noting recent spikes in cases in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
In Europe, “COVID-19 has capitalized on the epidemic of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease, which account for 75% of mortality,” Kruger said.
“Those with this underlying disease were and are more susceptible to severe forms of COVID-19,” he added. (AP)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a syndicated news feed, the latest staff may not have revised or edited the body of content)