Experts from US Health & Human Services are in Palau assisting Palau’s doctors at the Ministry of Health and Human Services in identifying “Long COVID” symptoms and treatments for it, reported Minister Gaafar Uherbelau.

“Long COVID” is the name used to explain the symptoms of COVID people experiences months and years after they contracted COVID-19.

Both US Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  and the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledge that Long COVID does exist and have allocated resources to studying and treating it.

“WHO remains committed to learning more about long COVID and to finding ways to improve the medium- and long-term outcomes for people affected by it,” Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director.

“While there is much we still need to learn about long COVID, especially how it presents in vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations and how it impacts reinfections, the data highlights the urgent need for more analysis, more investment, more support, and more solidarity with those who experience this condition.”

“Millions of people in our Region, are suffering debilitating symptoms many months after their initial COVID-19 infection. They cannot continue to suffer in silence.”

US Center for Disease Control defines Long COVID as “signs, symptoms, and conditions that continue or develop after initial COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 infection. The signs, symptoms, and conditions are present four weeks or more after the initial phase of infection; may be multisystemic; and may present with a relapsing–remitting pattern and progression or worsening over time, with the possibility of severe and life-threatening events even months or years after infection. Long COVID is not one condition. It represents many potentially overlapping entities, likely with different biological causes and different risk factors and outcomes.”

“Some of the common symptoms of long COVID can include fatigue, shortness of breath, and cognitive dysfunction over 200 different symptoms have been reported that can have an impact on everyday functioning,” according to World Health Organization.

It is not yet known if anyone in Palau has been diagnosed with Long COVID, but work is ongoing, and Minister Uherbelau assured that results would be shared.

WHO recommends the following prevention measures against Long COVID: Taking up offers of COVID-19 vaccines/boosters, Wearing well-fitted masks, cleaning hands regularly, catching coughs and sneezes, and ensuring indoor spaces are well-ventilated.

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