Catching COVID-19 a second or more time heightens one’s risk for contracting Long COVID. A recent Veterans Administration Health Study found that the risk of Long COVID increased with each subsequent re-infection. Long COVID symptoms include malaise, fatigue, pulmonary problems, neurological issues, cardiovascular abnormalities, gastrointestinal pain and mental health impairments. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that Long COVID may affect 10 to 33 million working age adults in the US.
The correlation between Long COVID and re-infection rates is concerning given that the newest Omicron subvariant – BA.5 — readily infects the vaccinated, the boosted and people with prior immunity. BA.5 currently accounts for 82 percent of all infections in the U.S. Subvariant BA.5 is particularly proficient in dodging vaccination and prior immunity guardrails. The swift mutation of the COVID-19 virus and its mutated sub-variants alarms medical professionals attempting to get infections rates under control. To add to this concern, experts report that subsequent infections may be causing extensive cumulative damage to the body even when the symptoms are mild. Multiple infections can contribute to death, hospitalizaiton and long term damage to major organs
Long COVID symptoms impact a person’s ability to work. Over 15 percent of unfilled jobs are now related to Long COVID. Claims for Long COVID are affecting employer provided disability insurance, worker’s compensation and health insurance. For those industries particularly prone to employee COVID infections, such as healthcare or manufacturing, they may be disproportionately affected by absenteeism and rising healthcare costs.
Still, experts continue to encourage masks in crowded placed, increase outdoor activity and remain current with vaccinations and boosters.