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Difference Between Covid and Long Covid or Post Covid

Covid is the illness caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus. Long Covid or post Covid is the condition where Covid symptoms either continue after two weeks or come back some time after recovery.

What is Covid?


Covid is the beta coronavirus that is responsible for the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Symptoms and complications:

Classic symptoms of Covid-19 include a fever, feelings of fatigue, shortness of breath, and a dry cough. The most severe illness is seen in elderly people or people with comorbidities such as diabetes, heart and lung disease; patients can develop pneumonia and other organs such as the heart and kidneys can also be affected in severe cases of illness. Obese individuals also have more severe Covid illness. The illness can lead to long covid syndrome or death. The case death rate is estimated at about 3% globally.

Causes and risk factors:

Covid-19 is caused by a type of beta coronavirus that first appeared in the human population sometime in 2019. The risk of catching Covid increases if you are working in healthcare dealing with infected people. Close contact with infected individuals in general increases the risk of catching the virus.


Diagnosis can be made by a rapid test based on molecular biology principles in which either antibodies for the virus are tested for or the genetic material of the virus is searched for.

Treatment and complications:

There is no cure for Covid and people are advised to get the vaccine where available to prevent illness. Treatment for sick individuals is supportive and, in some cases, necessitates hospitalization and oxygen supplementation. Certain antiviral medications can be helpful in cases of severe illness. Complications include long Covid or death.

What is Long Covid or Post Covid?


Long covid or post covid is when a person with covid does not recover within two weeks and continues to have symptoms.


There are several symptoms that can appear if a person has post covid, for instance, chest pain, headaches, loss of taste and smell, painful joints and muscles, pain in the chest, and heart palpitations. Furthermore, people may also experience cognitive problems where they have a hard time concentrating. 

Causes and risk factors:

Long covid is thought to be due to damage caused by a massive inflammatory response in the body when infected by the virus. Predictive models have indicated that people most likely to develop post covid are females and people who are older or obese.


Post covid is diagnosed by the continued presence of symptoms after two weeks or sudden reoccurrence of symptoms after the initial infection appears to have resolved.

Treatment and Complications:

Treatment of long covid is largely symptomatic and doctors have found that people who get rest can recover better and slowly resume normal activities. The most severe complication of long Covid is permanent scarring of the lung tissue and damage to other organs in the body.

Difference between Covid and Long Covid or Post Covid?


Covid is the coronavirus, Covid-19 that causes respiratory illness. Long Covid or post Covid is when covid symptoms last a long time or recur after the initial infection has resolved.


Fever, headaches, dry cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell and loss of taste are all common symptoms of Covid. Loss of smell and taste, fatigue, headaches and fever, chest pain, heart palpitations, painful joints, difficulty focusing and concentrating are symptoms of long Covid.


Covid is caused by a particular type of coronavirus, one of the beta coronaviruses. Long Covid or post Covid is a result of an overly strong inflammatory response in the body. 


Diagnosis of Covid is by the use of molecular tests looking for antibodies to the virus or looking for the nucleic acid of the virus. Diagnosis of long Covid is by noting the symptoms and duration of the illness.


Treatment options for Covid include giving extra oxygen and using certain anti-viral medications in severe cases. Treatment for long Covid is supportive and rest is also recommended.


Covid can lead to post Covid or even death. Long Covid can result in lung scarring and permanent damage to organs.

Table comparing Covid and Long Covid or Post Covid

Summary of Covid Vs. Long Covid or Post Covid

Does COVID-19 infections have long-term effects?

In about 10% of patients Covid-19 lasts longer than expected and long-term organ damage may occur.

 What are the long-term lung problems after Covid-19?

Since the Covid-19 virus directly affects the air sacs in the lungs it can lead to scarring and permanent damage that compromises breathing ability.

What are some known manifestations of post-COVID-19 conditions?

Post-Covid-19 manifests in a range of symptoms that may have occurred at the start of the infection, or reoccur some time after the initial infection appears to have resolved.

What are the variants of Covid-19?

Multiple variants have been detected including the following: 20A.EU1 variant in Spain, B.1.1.7 variant  in the UK,  B.1.351 in South Africa, B.1.617.2 in India, and the B.1.1.28 in Brazil.

How long does Covid vaccine take to work?

It will take at least 14 days to build up immunity against Covid after getting the vaccine, which would be two weeks after the second dose in the case of a two-dose vaccine.  If a person gets the single dose vaccine it will be two weeks after that dose.

What are some common symptoms of post Covid syndrome?

Symptoms such as exhaustion, neurological problems, heart issues such as palpitations and loss of smell and taste commonly occur in post-Covid patients.

What are post Covid complications?

While symptoms can last a long time in some cases, the most serious complication is organ damage that cannot be reversed including irreversible scarring of the lungs.

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References :

[0]CDC. “Post-Covid Conditions.” CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects.html

[1]Levison, Matthew E. “SARS-CoV-2 Clinical Manifestations.” Merckmanuals. Merck & Co., 2021, https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/resourcespages/sars-cov-2-clinical-manifestations

[2]Sudre, Carole H., et al. "Attributes and predictors of long COVID." Nature medicine 27.4 (2021): 626-631.

[3]Image credit: https://innovativegenomics.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/salmon-and-red.png

[4]Image credit: https://dailymontanan.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/SARS-CoV-2-SLiMs-1000x600-1.jpg

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