What you need to know about the latest on long covid

Mallory Stanislawczyk, a disabled former nurse practitioner who suffers from a post-covid condition, gives herself a saline infusion in her Walkersville, Md., home in May. She is one of an estimated 7 million to 23 million Americans who experience long covid. (Matt Roth for The Washington Post)

Nearly three years into the coronavirus pandemic the long-lasting consequences of covid-19 are becoming more evident. What we don’t know: the exact causes of long covid. What we don’t have: a test to diagnose the condition.

Most people who develop covid recover quickly, but a subset suffer new or ongoing health problems that are first identified at least four weeks after infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, which was awarded more than $1 billion over four years to support research, and groups of patient-researchers are working to develop a better understanding of the prolonged health consequences of infection with the virus.

“So many of the questions don’t yet have good answers,” said Harlan Krumholz, a professor of medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine, who has been studying long covid.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

New covid variant: The XBB.1.5 variant is a highly transmissible descendant of omicron that is now estimated to cause about half of new infections in the country. We answered some frequently asked questions about the bivalent booster shots.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

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