Australians who experience only mild COVID-19 symptoms 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 points to ongoing brain fog and memory loss in long COVID patients with no improvement even after a year.
The finding comes as Australia’s coronavirus-related death toll continues to rise, with 90 fatalities reported so far this weekend.
More than 43,000 new infections have also been recorded since Thursday.
There are presently more than 211,000 active COVID-19 cases across the country, with over 2,800 patients in hospital care.
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 in 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.
St Vincent’s Hospital’s Bruce Brew says it may 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,” Prof Faux said.
“We’re seeing people with slow thought processes and confusion which is very similar to a traumatic brain injury.”
ACT: 809 cases, no deaths, 90 in hospital, two in ICUs
NSW: 6348 cases, seven deaths, 1406 in hospital, 50 in ICUs
Victoria: 5472 cases, 19 deaths, 422 in hospital, 27 in ICUs
Queensland: 2959 cases, no deaths, 444 in hospital, seven in ICUs