David Putrino on 1) Australian Call to Scrap the Term “Long Covid” and 2) New Pre-Print on Sex Differences in LC

By David Tuller, DrPH

Last week, just in time for Long Covid Awareness Day on Friday, the chief health officer of the Australian state of Queensland, John Gerrard, declared that the term “Long Covid” should be dropped. He based his argument on Queensland survey data suggesting that rates of prolonged disability after Covid-19 are similar to those after other respiratory illnesses.

The research, to be presented next month at a conference in Barcelona, has not been peer-reviewed. Nonetheless, the state’s promotion of these findings led to widespread news coverage and lots of criticism; his comments are really pretty stupid. In fact, Dr Gerrard has a well-deserved reputation for downplaying concerns about the pandemic.

To discuss the issue, I spoke with David Putrino, who trained as a physical therapist and neuroscientist in his native Australia and is now director of rehabilitation innovation at Mt Sinai Health System in New York. We also spoke about a new pre-print from Dr Putrino, Yale immunologist Akiko Iwasaki, and colleagues called “Sex differences in symptomatology and immune profiles of Long COVID.” (At one point, Dr Putrino searches for the name of an Australian Nobel laureate who trashed the Queensland research; it is Professor Peter Doherty, an immunologist, who tweeted his criticism here.)