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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced July 31 it is launching four clinical trials to test the efficacy of potential long Covid treatments, according to The Washington Post. The first trial is underway, and researchers have found some cases in which Covid-related symptoms have remained for about 280 days after the initial infection.

Long Covid is defined as symptoms of Covid that can last for weeks, months or even years after contracting Covid-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In other news, outlets such as CNN and NBC reported a rise in Covid-related hospitalizations and higher concentrations of the virus in the wastewater throughout the U.S. which indicates a late-summer wave. The outlets reported public health experts are not advising people to change their behavior or fear serious illness. 

Since the Covid-19 pandemic occurred in 2020, there has been a rise in the number of Covid cases every summer, according to Dr. Michael Sweat, director of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Center for Global Health.

“It has become apparent for a while we have fairly substantial winter waves and pretty big waves in the mid- to late-summer here in the Southeast,” Sweat said. “So year after year we’re seeing that numbers tend to get really, really low — the lowest by March, April, May — but then they go up again.

“There’s still a lot of cases, but people aren’t getting as sick,” Sweat said in a June interview with the Charleston City Paper

Meanwhile, the CDC and the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) have stopped requiring weekly case reporting. For more information, see the latest Covid-19 data below. 

Long Covid treatment needed

The goal of the coming NIH long Covid trials, which are part of a nearly $1.2 billion project called RECOVER, is to relieve the hardship of millions of long Covid sufferers. An additional seven trials are set to take place later this year. 

The Post reported critics are underlining the NIH’s slow response to find treatments for Americans who are chronically ill after an initial Covid infection and questioning whether the number of patients recruited is adequate. 

The trials will study the lingering symptoms that remain months after contracting an initial Covid infection, according to The Post. The trials will focus on reducing viral persistence with the following treatment areas: alleviating brain fog, memory loss and other cognitive problems; reducing excessive sleepiness and sleep disturbances; and treating problems that involve heart rate, breathing and the digestive system.

Latest Covid-19 data

The most recent CDC reports show the hospital admission level of the Covid-19 virus has remained low in the Charleston area. For the week ending July 22, Covid-related hospitalizations in Charleston decreased 5.3% in comparison to the week ending July 15. 

State health officials encourage residents to refer to the CDC’s Covid-19 by county webpage and track hospital admission levels to guide prevention decisions and track the severity of Covid-19. 

The agency’s national wastewater surveillance system reports whether Covid-19 levels in communities are currently higher or lower than they’ve been historically. Charleston County indicates no recent data, but a chart depicts an upward trending concentration of Covid-19 in wastewater as of Aug. 4. 

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