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Covid patients call attention to long-term effects

Coronavirus survivors in Finland want decision makers to acknowledge Covid's potential lasting impact.

Koronaviruksen testaukseen tarkoitettuja koeputkia.
File photo of Covid-19 test samples. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Over the past few days, around 400 Finns have signed a petition urging officials to research the long-term health effects of Covid-19.

The petition was launched by a group of people who have been dealing with after-effects of the illness.

"The impact of coronavirus has been underestimated," said 34-year-old group spokesperson Joni Savolainen who came down with the virus in March. "It's urgent we find out what’s wrong with us. Why do these symptoms keep coming back?"

Members of a Finnish Facebook peer support group have shared long-term symptoms of Covid-19, including shortness of breath, limb numbness, muscle cramps, dry cough and general fatigue. The group has attracted 2,500 members so far.

Savolainen said the petition aims to send a message to decision makers and health officials that coronavirus can put otherwise healthy adults out of commission for a very long time, sometimes impacting their capacity to function normally.

He warned that many people have yet to fully recover from the first wave and now a second wave of the virus is approaching.

"We need help and money from the state to help us get back to our jobs," said Savolainen who explained he hasn’t been able to work since March.

Savolainen said he is worried that many people suffering from long-term symptoms don’t seek help because they don’t believe they will get any.

"No register exists for people like us, but there are hundreds of us."

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