Australians who experience only mild symptoms of COVID-19 are just as likely to be heavily impacted by long COVID as those who suffer more severely.
A new Adapting to Pandemic Threats (ADAPT) Study released on Saturday pointed to ongoing brain fog and memory loss in long COVID patients with no improvement even after a year.
It came the same day as Australia reported more than 60 coronavirus-related deaths and more than 27,000 new infections.
Ahead of the weekend the federal government approved an extra $760 million to help states and territories fight the virus.
Meanwhile the ADAPT study found nine out of 10 long COVID sufferers had not been taken to hospital when they originally caught the virus.
Researchers said there was a “common misconception” that only people who had felt the full force of the virus developed long COVID.
Long road to recovery
St Vincent’s Hospital’s Bruce Brew said he was hopeful it would take another year to see an improvement in long COVID patients.
“The impact of long COVID on some is significant,” Professor Brew said.
“I had one patient, a businessman, who had to sell his business because he could no longer focus on contracts and negotiations during meetings.”
Steven Faux, who runs the long COVID clinic at St Vincent’s, is seeing up to 10 new patients each week.
“What we’re finding is it’s actually affecting younger people, and they’re finding it really difficult to be able to continue working,” Professor Faux said.
“We’re seeing people with slow thought processes and confusion which is very similar to a traumatic brain injury.”
Brain Injury Australia says one in three people will suffer a brain injury in their lifetime, while one in 10 will experience a traumatic brain injury.
“Changing their life as they know it and costing Australia $7 billion in health care,” executive officer Nick Rushworth said.