Literatus: Covid-19 sequelae

Zosimo T. Literatus
·2 min read

AS USUAL, sequela (plural: sequelae) is a medical term adopted from Latin in plural, meaning “sequel,” or an aftermath. When associated with Covid-19, it means the conditions, specifically symptoms, that are experienced by patients after surviving Sars-CoV-2 infection.

The point of knowing these sequelae is to help those who recovered from the coronavirus infection understand when these symptoms occur, and not to worry about it, unless the condition is inherently serious.

However, for Dr. Sandra Lopez-Leon of Novartis Pharmaceutics in New Jersey and her colleagues in the academe and government healthcare institutions in the United States, Mexico and Sweden—in a multi-center collaborative systematic review and meta-analysis of existing reports on post-infection consequences—five relatively mild conditions had been identified. Their report came out in medRxiv on Jan. 30, as a National Institutes of Health preprint version.

The most common sequela is fatigue, which occurred in 58 percent of former Covid-19 patients. Since the study involved 18,251 publications with at least 100 patients each, that occurrence rate involved roughly one million individuals. Fatigue is a state of being exhausted physically.

Headaches followed with an occurrence rate of 44 percent, which is slightly more than 800,000 people. This means though that having a headache, as a sequela, does not mean, not having fatigue. In fact, 80 percent of the patients had at least one symptom.

The last three of the top five sequelae found in the study included attention deficit disorder (ADD, 27 percent), hair loss (25 percent) and dyspnea (24 percent).

Interestingly, of the 50 sequelae, the largest collection of conditions was associated with the brain (nervous system). Among those with the highest prevalence next to headaches and ADD are anosmia (21 percent) and memory loss (16 percent). Anosmia is the impairment, if not loss, of the sense of smell.

Despite this extended suffering, here are two blessings that patients may thank God for. First, they survived the ordeal. Second, the ordeal has given them the gift of immunity, which could remain effective for a longer time than Covid-19 vaccine doses.

Thank God for that. It is your second chance in life.