Mayo Clinic studying thousands of ‘long-haul’ COVID cases in Minnesota

One of the mysteries surrounding COVID-19 is why some people cannot shake the symptoms and remain sick for months at a time — in some cases more than a year.

Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, a physician at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, says there are conservatively about 100,000 people in Minnesota who are considered “long-haul” COVID-19 patients.

“Something of this magnitude, affecting so many people on a consistent basis, this is something totally new for me and totally new for medicine,” Vanichkachorn said. “We are working toward identifying people with long-haul COVID symptoms because it is a growing population.”

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Vanichkachorn said the challenge is treating these long-haul patients because there is not a lot of research that’s been completed on why these cases are happening and who is most likely to become a long-haul patient.

“The research in this area has really just focused on what long-haul COVID looks like across the patient population,” Vanichkachorn said. “We really haven’t done any research yet looking at outcomes or treatments with different medications and so forth.”

Vanichkachorn said right now there seems to be a pattern of younger women who are more likely to become long-haul COVID-19 patients, but the reasons why are still inconclusive.