Long COVID is no stranger to either patients or those immersed in studies of its effects. In the U.S., one in 7 adults–about 14% of the adult population–has experienced symptoms that lasted three months or longer after first contracting the virus. The worldwide estimate for long COVID is 65 million people.
What is less clear–because it’s still so early in the process–is the impact of some of SARS-CoV-2’s most dangerous characteristics on those hit by long COVID. But some researchers are warily watching for the worst: a potential connection to cancer.
No such connection has been established, and the process of learning whether there is one–and to what extent–will rightfully take years. The experts who spoke with me cautioned that most of what they are considering is hypothetical, and the National Cancer Institute did not respond to multiple interview requests.