“Big Problem” Long Covid? This is how the economy and hospitals assess the situation

DThe German economy faces tough months, at worst shut down production lines and closed factories. In addition to concerns about the lack of Russian gas supplies, many companies now need to prepare for further staff shortages related to the koruna. “The long Covid is a huge problem,” Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) told Zeit Online. “We are not even able to deal with many cases.” He also warned, “It will also be important for the labor market because unfortunately many will not return to their former productivity.”

Employers and unions now fear that the enormous workforce shortages that already exist in many companies will become even greater due to the rising number of infections as well as the long-term consequences of the pandemic. “BDI expects that from autumn to next spring, more than 20 percent of working hours will be lost due to illness in the worst case scenario,” predicts Industry Association president Siegfried Russwurm.

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IG Metall board member Hans-Jürgen Urban demands: “Anyone who suffers long-term corona infection must be able to recover at all times and be able to recover. People’s health cannot be played against each other. ” Many workers are already under enormous productivity pressures as work is often spread over too few shoulders.

Symptoms that persist or appear more than four weeks after infection are known as long covid. These include, first of all, sore throats and headaches, exhaustion, shortness of breath and sleep disturbances. According to data from Techniker Krankenkasse, one percent of those insured who were diagnosed with Covid-19 in 2020 were on sick leave last year with a Long Covid diagnosis.

“But we also assume a large number of unreported cases,” said TK CEO Jens Baas. Affected persons were on sick leave for an average of 105 days. In total, the corona has so far been detected in over 29 million people in Germany.

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Data from the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) also show a relatively high number of long-standing Covid cases. The crown and its long-term consequences can be considered an occupational disease for health and social care workers.

As DGUV reported WELT, the central association of commercial professional and accident insurance societies, by June 30 this year had received 357,932 reports of suspected Corona occupational disease. About 72 percent of the decisions made so far have been positive. If the infection occurs as a result of employment in other fields of activity, the disease may constitute an accident at work. As of June 30, 20,452 reports had been approved, the DGUV said.

“We also see great challenges in caring for our insured, although we started creating rehabilitation offers for our insured very early on,” said DGUV Managing Director Stefan Hussy.

“Long Covid Challenges Hospitals”

The German Hospital Association points out that Long Covid does not only cause individual suffering. “Inability to work and mental disorders also cause economic and social harm,” said CEO Gerald Gass. To date, more than a third of hospitalized Covid patients have Long Covid; However, long-term ramifications also occur after mild courses. “Long Covid is challenging hospitals because a lot of people are affected,” continued Gass.

The Federal Association for the Protection of Critical Infrastructure (BSKI) is concerned that the situation will worsen dramatically in all sectors of critical infrastructure in the fall. “Some hospitals have had to temporarily close emergency rooms due to a lack of staff,” says BSKI CEO Holger Berens.

Long Covid-like symptoms after vaccination

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However, the central association of statutory health insurance companies dismisses Health Minister Lauterbach’s concerns that patients with chronic Covid disease cannot be adequately cared for. “The statutory health insurance system has so far been able to provide care for people, and I am sure that will continue to be the case in the future,” said a health insurance company spokesman.

The CEO of the Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance, Dominik von Stillfried, also says, “We see no inability to treat symptoms after Covidie,” mainly from the GP. “Fortunately, protracted conditions after Covidie are rather rare,” says von Stillfried.

Susanne Bublitz, second president of the Association of General Practitioners of Baden-Württemberg, looks after 20 patients with long-standing Covid herself. “The long-term consequences of the crown will not push the local medical profession to the performance limits,” he says. “The much more problematic is that patients are struggling to be recognized as an illness, are financially constrained by a permanent disability, and are not sure that a disability pension will be recognized.”

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The economy is looking “with great concern at the development of the crown this coming fall,” explains BDI CEO Russwurm. “The coronation policy of the past three years has been disappointing in terms of rising infections and significant violations of fundamental rights.”

Ver.di is expecting a “big arc wave” for Long Covid. “The associated sick leave and further reductions in available forces will continue to weigh heavily on the state and, in some places, bring it to the brink of operational capacity,” said Luise Klemens, Ver.di Bavaria state district manager.

The German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) points out that some affected people lose their sick pay due to long periods of illness. Anja Piel from the federal government of the DGB warns: “People in crisis must not suffer from the financial crisis either.”

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