The Atlantic Daily: COVID-19 Long-Haulers Want More

Long COVID remains one of the biggest unanswered questions of this pandemic.

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An image of a clock and a woman wearing a mask
Getty; Dawid Markiewicz / Getty; The Atlantic

More than a year into the pandemic, long COVID remains a mystery.

My colleague Ed Yong, who has been covering the disease since last June, updates us on the continuing efforts to better understand what causes it—and the patients who, after all this time, still feel misunderstood.

+ Patients are still fighting for a seat at the table.

When COVID-19 long-haulers felt neglected by the medical establishment, they took matters into their own hands, forming support groups and studying themselves. Even as academia is starting to take the condition seriously, many patients “feel that their expertise is being ignored and their hard-won knowledge is being excluded from investigations into their own illness,” Ed reports.

+ We still don’t know the odds of developing long COVID from a breakthrough infection.

“Vaccination reduces the risk of infection, which should consequently reduce the risk of long COVID,” Ed points out. But formal data remain sparse, and a small number of long-COVID cases in the vaccinated have been recorded.

+ Long-haul diseases are still understudied.

Long COVID parallels similar postinfection conditions. Unfortunately, the phenomena are poorly understood. “For years, we’ve been shouting from the rooftops that this is something that happens after an infectious onset, but it’s been hard to get people to pay attention,” one scientist told Ed.

Read Ed’s report.

The Caldor Fire burns homes along a ridge on August 30, 2021, near South Lake Tahoe.
Justin Sullivan / Getty

The news in three sentences:

(1) In the absence of Supreme Court intervention, a new law took effect in Texas today that makes abortions functionally illegal in the state. (2) Firefighters spent another day trying to protect South Lake Tahoe homes from the Caldor Fire. (3) A grand jury indicted three police officers and two paramedics in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain in Colorado.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Shock yourself out of a hump-day daze with “Needs,” a true-crime-inspired short story by Karen Brown. Then read our Q&A with the author.

A break from the news:

As social codes change, a new kind of mob justice is taking hold in America, Anne Applebaum argues.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.