COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms of COVID-19 vary from mild to severe, with common symptoms including fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath. People may also experience headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, or gastrointestinal distress1. The RACGP has developed a range of resources on COVID-19 which are regularly updated in line with research and public health advice. GPs may also like to regularly review the National Clinical Evidence Taskforce, an alliance of peak medical bodies who provide evidence-based treatment guidelines for ‘urgent and emerging diseases’2.
Variants continue to develop, especially with a lot of community transmission. The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains a register of SARS-CoV-2 variants of interest and variants of concern3.
The WHO has developed a clinical case definition of post COVID-19 condition by a Delphi consensus:
Post COVID-19 condition occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS CoV-2 infection, usually 3 months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms and that last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis. Common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction but also others and generally have an impact on everyday functioning. Symptoms may be new onset following initial recovery from an acute COVID-19 episode or persist from the initial illness. Symptoms may also fluctuate or relapse over time.4
The RACGP has developed clinical guidelines for GPs caring for patients with post-COVID-19 conditions, which includes guidance on patient education, specific sequelae of COVID-19, escalation of care, and returning to exercise and activity, among other topics.