The WHO Regional Office for Europe, one of six worldwide WHO regional offices, and Long COVID Europe (LCE), the European network of Long COVID patient organizations, have collaborated on a new project that will be released on May 12, 2023. It's a video game modification called "Long COVID Mode" that is supposed to simulate living with Long COVID. WHO Europe tweeted out the trailer with the announcement:
Ever wondered what it must be like living with #Long COVID? Very soon you'll be able to find out – virtually! WHO/Europe partner @LongCOVIDEurope has developed #LongCOVIDMode to experience it through your favourite gaming characters.
The trailer was also released on Long COVID Europe's YouTube channel, which explains:
Living with Long COVID is a debilitating experience. One that is difficult to explain. With Long COVID Mode, we hope to give you a glimpse of what we go through daily.
And text in the video itself reads:
Over 65 million people worldwide suffer from Long COVID. Experience how they live on a whole new level of difficulty through your gaming characters. LONG COVID MODE. Releasing 12.05.23.
Lots of folks on Twitter are livid that WHO Europe and Long COVID Europe are gamifying Long COVID. Patrick Gallagher tweeted, "What kind of dystopian hell have we landed in. This is in such bad taste. Please tell me this is not an effort to raise awareness." Biologist Next Door asked, "Did this account get hacked? I mean did this organization get hijacked?" And Sam Messina stated, "This is one of the most distasteful, sickening things I've seen from a health organization. Treating experiencing long Covid like it's some sort of intriguing adventure, like anyone would CHOOSE to live through that?! Absolutely appalling."
I have to agree with these critics. WHO Europe and Long COVID Europe, what exactly are you doing here? Is this what "public health" has come to?