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March 29, 2023: Long Covid – It Could Happen to You

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A conversation about Long Covid with Dr. Ric Arseneau, Internal Medicine specialist and BC Physician Lead of the Provincial ECHO Education Program for Long Covid, and Dr. Susan Kuo, a Richmond family physician and member of Protect Our Province BC.

Long Covid is a serious and increasingly prevalent condition. According to Statistics Canada, as of last August 2022 it affected 1.4 million in Canada, or 15% of adult infected Canadians.  This condition not only impacts individuals and our health system but also the labour pool and Canada’s economy. The Canadian government recently issued a report warning of the repercussion of Long Covid. In the UK, economists are also sounding the alarm of Long Covid and its toll on the labor supply and the need for employment protection and financial support.

Despite these official warnings, Canadians experiencing Long Covid still face not only challenges finding medical advice and treatment but even stigma and disbelief that their condition is real.

“It’s not uncommon for Long Covid patients who are being gaslit to wonder whether they are crazy – they’ve never had anybody acknowledge that their symptoms are real,” says internal medicine physician and UBC clinical professor Dr. Ric Arseneau.  He fears many healthcare providers are ignoring the distinction between “there is nothing wrong with you” with “we haven’t found anything yet.”

It’s estimated that 10% of people infected with Covid will develop Long Covid. With almost 80% of British Columbians having been infected with Covid, this would mean at any point in time, close to 500,000 people in BC have symptoms lasting longer than 3 months. 

Dr. Susan Kuo says that “as a family doctor in BC, I can say that we’re seeing Covid and Long Covid cases all the time now, and in all age groups. To be closing BC’s Long Covid Clinics at this time makes no sense to me. Remember, not everyone has a family doctor.”

Archived Briefings from Protect Our Province BC

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“If we had an epidemic of people with broken limbs and we saw people in plasters and crutches, it would be more evident. But there is a lot of disability that is happening, which is a hidden disability often, which is why we need to talk about it more, for people to understand what the consequences are. And that will help to make better decisions.” – Lynette
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Date: Wednesday, March 1 2023 at 2:00 PM PST A conversation with Protect Our Province BC doctors about Paxlovid and access to this useful Covid medication in BC Join Dr. Susan Kuo and Dr. Lyne Filiatrault of Protect Our Province BC on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, 2 pm, for a conversation about Paxlovid.  BC is… Continue reading Mar 1, 2023: Paxlovid: Why Should You Care?
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Date: Friday, Feb 3, 2023 at 1:30 PM PST Ever get the feeling we’re not getting the real story about COVID?Apparently “the pandemic is over!” yet it seems like everyone you know is ill or has a family member who is, while schools have multiple classes merged together because of so many teachers are out… Continue reading Feb 3, 2023: COVID Reality Check with Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi

More News from Protect Our Province BC

Four healthcare workers dressed in white lab coats. All four are wearing white earloop respirators and have stethoscopes draped over their shoulders. Standing in a row from left to right: a Black man with short black hair and glasses, a taller white man with dark brown hair in behind the other three, a white woman in the front of the group with dark brown hair and gold hoop earrings, and a white woman with long black hair behind the woman in front.
This is the first time I have ever written a letter to my MLA. As a constituent who is a healthcare professional, a parent, and a recent cancer survivor, I feel compelled to reach out after the removal of mask mandates in BC hospitals, and I ask you, as my elected representative, to hear and, I hope, understand how serious this issue is, and how urgently change is needed in our provincial government’s pandemic management strategy.
Our health officer has previously advocated for kindness. But as someone with a disability (long Covid), I need you to know that resting under this rubric of “personal choice”, many of us who are disabled actually experience this framing of the matter as a personal choice, rather, as your government’s complete and abject disregard of the disabled and elderly, for how else are we to understand why our lives and health don’t matter?
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Now is not the time to remove indoor masks protections in spaces where vulnerable British Columbians seek medical care. No one should come to the hospital for one condition and leave with a COVID-19 infection. Or, not leave the hospital, and die from Covid? A recent leak from the Victorian Health Department, Australia suggested a 10% or more mortality for patients who acquired COVID-19 in hospital between January and October 2022.