Local doctor gives Covid update: why the BA.5 variant will lead to more ‘long Covid’
The B-A 5 covid strain has been labeled as the most contagious variant so far by the C-D-C.
Although the symptoms are reportedly more mild, health experts say this variant will lead to more cases of long covid.
With back to school just around the corner around, we can expect to see an uptick in covid cases. Already in Hamilton County, we’ve seen daily case numbers rise from double to triple digits since the beginning of summer. Dr. Jensen Hyde at Erlanger said, although this strain seems mild, getting reinfected will put individuals at a much higher risk for developing long covid.
“Between 30 and 50% of people who have had, even asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, covid cases do develop some sort of long covid. It can take months to years to never resolving at this point. Symptoms are fatigue, insomnia, depression, muscle aches, there’s really a very long list of things that can be pretty debilitating. So, you know, I think when people ask me why I still care, why I still modify my behavior at all? That’s usually my answer,” said Jensen. ” I think at this point as a relatively young, vaccinated and boosted person, I’m not going to end up in the hospital in all likelihood with covid, but I don’t really need to deal with any additional fatigue in my life. So, long covid is a very good reason to still consider your behaviors and consider your risk for developing COVID-19 disease. Especially with BA.5, which is the variant we’re dealing with now, reinfection is becoming much, much, much more common.”
Dr. Hyde said the BA.5 variant is highly contagious, but spreading can be attributed to “covid fatigue”.
“There’s no question, everyone is very tired of covid, the present company included. We are in a wave, we are at very high case numbers in the community right now. The tricky thing with this too, is that a lot of people who felt pretty safe out in the world either because they were fully vaccinated, boosted or because they had been recently infected, we’re seeing a lot of reinfection. I think a lot of adults who have originally vaccinated have maybe not kept up with boosters. So now, it’d be a good time to do that,” said Jensen. “So I, personally for myself and my family, I have two kids under five. We pay pretty close attention to case numbers. So, if the case numbers were very high, we usually just adjust activities.”
Dr. Hyde suggests even if you get a negative result from a home test after exposure it is still best to isolate and continue to retest.