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EALTHY and SLC | Cognitive-linguistic difficulties in adults with Long COVID

November 2022 |

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on health workers, with the World Health Organization reporting some 115,500 deaths in health and care workers between January 2020 and May 2021 (WHO, 20021). Even in those health workers who do not develop serious disease, there is a high prevalence of the Long COVID syndrome which has implications for return to work and performance of occupational duties (Gaber et al., 2021). Cognitive-linguistic difficulties referred to as “brain fog” are a prominent feature of the Long COVID syndrome, and often persist in sufferers long after physical symptoms have resolved (Cummings, 2021). This talk examines the nature of these difficulties by examining language data from 92 adults with the Long COVID syndrome. One third of these adults are health and care workers who contracted SARS-CoV-2 through occupational exposure. These adults reported significant problems with cognition and language following acute COVID illness, with many unable to return to work (Cummings, 2022). The talk explores their self-reported cognitive-linguistic difficulties and relates them to problems with verbal recall, verbal fluency, and informativeness during discourse production.