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Long Covid recognised as a disability in Spain

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The many people affected by so-called “long Covid”, persistent health problems caused by coronavirus infection, have been given a glimmer of hope in Spain, as many people have found themselves unable to work as a result of their physical situation and without compensation for the diagnostic difficulties that this ailment has, but now, the Social Security department has granted the first absolute disability to one worker and total disability to three others, all of them professionals from the National Health System in the province of Guipúzcoa.

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Image by Christo Anestev from Pixabay

The World Health Organisation (WHO), as reported this week, estimates that in Europe there are about 17 million people affected by this pathology, a number which continues to grow, and will get worse as infections are still continuing, which involves very diverse symptoms and for which there is no specific treatment. The effects are not only respiratory, but have to do with muscle strength, the nervous system, and even mental health, making them highly incapacitating.

In the United States alone, according to Luguese neuroscientist Sonia Villapol, professor and principal investigator at the Houston Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Texas, it is estimated that up to 7.3% of the population could be affected, which would imply around 18 million people in Spain alone.

“It is independent of the initial symptomatology and represents a global health problem”, emphasises the specialist, who details that those affected “suffer symptoms months after the infection that prevent them from leading a normal life” and at the moment “there is still no good diagnosis for persistent covid, especially for the neurological issues that we are paying more attention to in my lab now. And let’s not talk about effective and approved treatments, so each symptom continues to be treated as best as possible. In his opinion “we must continue to avoid infections” because “even if acute Covid is mild it can lead to persistent and debilitating symptoms for months, especially when it affects mental health».

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