Labeling COVID-19’s Long-Term Effects—What’s the Diagnosis?
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the medical and non-medical literature, as well as social media, have been using descriptive terms that are describing the same problem but in different ways.
Initially, we saw Corona virus, Novel Corona virus, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), SARS-Co-V-2, (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2), COVID (an acronym for Corona Virus Disease) and COVID-19 (with the number 19 representing the year of the discovery). TABLE 1 is a summary of the definitions of disease related to COVID-19 (Katella, 2020).
We then saw new phrases and words appearing in the literature. We also heard various media outlets use these words in news stories and they became part of our daily conversations about the virus. These phrases and words included ‘super-spreader,’ ‘flattening the curve’ and ‘personal protective equipment.’
But several terms not found in the early COVID-19 literature emerged in the summer of 2020 that described COVID-19 survivors who continued to report new or exacerbated medical issues possibly related to the COVID-19 virus.
Some of these labels included COVID long hauler, long COVID, chronic COVID syndrome, post-COVID syndrome and the non-medical term brain fog.