Covid, Long-Covid, and the importance of Covid Testing

Much has been written about “Long Covid” and people suffering as “Covid-Longhaulers,” but still, too little is known about the long term effects of a Covid-19 infection.

As of this writing, according to the CDC there have been 92 million cases of Coronavirus infection in the United States, with the rate of infection running at about 108,000 new cases each day.

A small, but significant number of those people will also suffer from Long Covid.  The CDC explains it is difficult to predict who might go on to develop long term symptoms of the disease and that estimates vary depending on data samples and criteria.  But evidence suggests of the people who had COVID-19, the proportions that go on to experience post-COVID conditions are as follows:

  • 13.3% at one month or longer after infection
  • 2.5% at three months or longer, based on self-reporting
  • More than 30% at 6 months among patients who were hospitalized

The CDC further explains:

  • Post-COVID conditions can include a wide range of ongoing health problems; these conditions can last weeks, months, or years.
  • Post-COVID conditions are found more often in people who had severe COVID-19 illness, but anyone who has been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience post-COVID conditions, even people who had mild illness or no symptoms from COVID-19.
  • People who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and become infected may also be at higher risk of developing post-COVID conditions compared to people who were vaccinated and had breakthrough infections.

We all know Covid has become the “new normal” and have made adjustments in our lives to try and function as best as we can.  But for many people, when the debilitating symptoms of Covid prevent them from working for an extended time, the result can be financial hardship or even devastation.  In those instances, people are turning to resources such as state disability, social security disability, private disability insurance, or employer provided short term and long term disability insurance benefits.  Our law firm has decades of experience in helping people obtain benefits from their private or employer provided disability insurance policies when those benefits are initially denied by insurers.  Post-Covid, we not only now see people fighting for disability insurance benefits based on Covid-related disabilities,  but also struggling to find the proper healthcare providers for their Long Covid symptoms.

All of which brings us to the question of testing.  Too many people just assume they have Covid, and forego testing, but that can be a big mistake.

The bottom line is that Covid testing can be of critical importance.  And not just any testing.  PCR testing is best.  Why?  Two important reasons.  First, there is a greater likelihood that if you find yourself having to prove a Covid infection to an insurance company, and you do not have a positive PCR test, the insurer will take advantage of the uncertainty and allege that you may not have actually had the disease.  That will make an already difficult battle that much harder.  PCR testing is the gold standard and has a much higher accuracy percentage than at-home, or instant type antigen tests, and is very difficult to refute.  Second, if your symptoms do not improve, and you start to suffer from Long Covid, you may find it far easier to get proper treatment if you can show that you had a positive PCR test.  In California, for example, specialized Long Covid clinics at respected institutions like Stanford, UC Davis, and UC San Diego require proof of a positive PCR test before they will accept patients into their clinics for care.  This may change with time, but for now, it makes utmost sense to get a PCR test.  David Putrino, a Long COVID research scientist from New York’s Mount Sinai health who contributed to a Long Covid Survival Guide was interviewed by Time Magazine and he summed it up like this: “Making sure that you have very clear documentation of a positive test is important, because it gives you your best chance of being able to receive services as long as you need them.”

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