Up to 1.6 million would have consequences after contracting Covid

What we foresee is that the long Covid will condition even greater pressure on health systems, since we do not yet know if it can generate any alteration such as an increase in diabetes, kidney and heart problems.

Rufino Luna Gordillo, hospital epidemiology coordinator at the National Institute of Perinatology.

Two years have passed since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the physical and emotional lives of millions of Mexicans, however, this disease and its aftermath are here to stay, experts say

The epidemiologist Rufino Luna Gordillo, coordinator of Hospital Epidemiology of the National Institute of Perinatology (Inper) and president of the National Council of Public Health, and Dr. Isabel Villegas Mota, infectologist and head of the Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Unit, also of the Inper , speak of estimates indicating that Covid-19 can cause long-term sequelae (Long Covid) in up to 30% of people who have acquired the virus.

For this reason, it could be estimated that in Mexico, about one million 650 people suffer or suffered from some symptom such as difficulty breathing, tiredness, difficulty thinking, cough, pain in the chest or stomach, headache, palpitations, muscle pain, tingling sensation, diarrhoea, trouble sleeping, dizziness, mood changes, changes in taste or smell, new or permanent for weeks or months after being infected with the virus that causes Covid -19.

“The long Covid is not something that people make up to say they feel tired, it is a reality that these chronic conditions have been identified. We can foresee that many patients with coronavirus, up to 30% are spoken of, that they may have a chronic disease or that their symptoms become chronic and that they may need attention in the health system, ”explains Luna Gordillo.

The specialist recalls that since the coronavirus is a disease that affects 52 types of tissues and organs, a wide range of symptoms and diseases can be expected that can become chronic, unlike Influenza, which affects only two types tissue; the respiratory and digestive tracts.

“What we foresee is that the long Covid is going to put even greater pressure on the health systems, since we do not yet know if it can generate any alteration such as an increase in diabetes, kidney and heart problems, which may become fatal or chronic,” he stresses.

Meanwhile, Dr. Isabel Villegas Mota maintains that no one thought that this virus would last so long, however, she points out that the clinical behavior of the disease has meant that it has been with us for so long.

The infectologist details that the pandemic is not only leaving more infections, but other pathologies that damage other aspects of life, and health, with which we also have to learn to live, are increasing.

Villegas Mota explains that there are estimates that indicate that the virus causes long-term sequelae between 10 and 30% of people who have acquired the virus. “The persistent Covid affects brain, cognitive, concentration, memory functions, the lungs, the circulatory system; there are many mechanisms that leave damage to various organisms and body systems, that what they are causing are these disabilities that people do not believe, but that are real consequences of Covid, and that are going to affect the country’s productivity “, indicates.

He agrees that the lack of recovery time for these patients; attention to the consequences, added to the fact that other non-Covid diseases were not treated for a long time, “they are going to leave a sicker population, we are going to continue to see it in the coming years, of course we are going to have more heart attacks, more hypertension, cardiovascular damage, and leaves us with mental health damage that has been potentiated.

mental effects

Josefina Lira Plascencia, former president of the Center for Specialists in Gynecology and Obstetrics, who has studied the consequences of Covid-19, warns that the consequences of this disease are still imprecise, since there are indications that the consequences may be a consequence of the disease itself. or even due to a post-traumatic situation.

“Post-Covid conditions have a very wide range of health problems that are new or may be recurring, ongoing or may run the course,” he says.

The doctor explains that there are also changes in mood, which are investigated if they are directly caused by Covid or if it is an issue of anxiety or post-traumatic stress due to having had the disease or confinement.

“Well, we do not know if any symptom could be due to post-traumatic stress or the disease itself, the care of these patients has to be multidisciplinary so that we can achieve an improvement,” he says.

On the other hand, he considers that the post-traumatic stress of the confinement generated social and cognitive delays, which will have to be paid attention to.

Rehabilitation Strategy

Although there are thousands who would need rehabilitation, the federal Health Secretariat (SSA) has denied having information on any coordinated strategy to be implemented among the various health institutions.

One petitioner asked the SSA to inform him about the rehabilitation strategy in public institutions in the country. In response to the request with folio 330026922000084, the agency indicated that whoever might have data on the subject was the Undersecretary for Prevention and Health Promotion, which in turn indicated that it did not have data on the subject.

The Insabi (Institute of Health for Well-being) responded to this same questioning, in request 332459721000511, not having information in this regard and directed asking the SSA.

In contrast, the only institution that has openly reported that it rehabilitates due to consequences of Covid has been the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).

Until August of last year, the IMSS had treated almost 178,000 people with various complications or sequelae from Covid-19, through 191 rehabilitation units, services and modules, with the aim of granting rehabilitation to their beneficiaries with sequelae such as: difficulty shortness of breath, tiredness or fatigue after physical activity, cough, chest pain, stomach pain, headache, or palpitations.

Improvements to the health system

Dr. Miguel Ángel Cortés Vázquez, an infectologist at the Hospital de Infectología de la Raza, maintains that two years after the start of the pandemic in Mexico, it was found that we do not have a health system prepared to deal with this type of disease.

“The limitations that the Mexican health system has are many; sometimes we had to work with the minimum, we had a minimum supply of medicines, even the most basic paracetamol was finished, so it is something that we have to continue calling for government measures to be implemented in order to improve health conditions in overall,” he describes.

And he adds: “In the end we have to try to seek more global health and care, because unfortunately the impact was much greater on the vulnerable population that does not have access to health systems, that is something that this pandemic left us.”

On the other hand, the doctor maintains that although at this point the disease and its symptoms, its clinical picture and behavior are better known, there is still a long way to go to find a treatment.

For his part, the epidemiologist Rufino Luna Gordillo, coordinator of hospital epidemiology at Inper, stresses that Covid-19 “is a disease that will not go away and we have to learn to live with it.”

The specialist agrees that what he knows after two years of dealing with the virus is that this is a disease that does not resemble any that we have seen throughout humanity, “but that we have definitely been able to work on since the scientific side, since never in history had it been possible to have a vaccine in record time.

While the infectologist, Isabel Villegas Mota, explains that although the pandemic is expected to continue, it is thought that it will become more seasonal, probably in winter and that there may be milder infections but it can still cause serious infections or continue to mutate. : “we will have to learn to live with it”.

Consequences after infection

Some people experience a range of sequelae that can last for weeks or months after being infected with Covid-19:

• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

• Tiredness or fatigue

• Symptoms that worsen after physical or mental activity (also known as post-exertional malaise)

• Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes called “brain fog”)

• Cough

• Chest or stomach pain

• Headache

• Palpitations

• Muscle or joint pain

• Tingling sensation

• Diarrhea

• Trouble sleeping

• Fever

• Dizziness (vertigo) when standing up

• rash

• Changes in mood

• Changes in taste or smell

• Changes in menstrual period cycles

Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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