Scientists say over half of virus survivors have Long COVID

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According to scientists at Penn State College of Medicine, over half of virus survivors contract Long COVID

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine say that over half of people who survive the virus will contract Long COVID – the little-understood, lingering form of COVID.

Long COVID can look very different in various people. For one, it could mean losing the ability to smell. For another, it can create a bone-deep fatigue and brain fuzziness, both of which drastically impact the living of a life.

Here, the team looked at 57 reports on 250,351 unvaccinated adults and children who were infected from December 2019 through March 2021. Among them, 79% were hospitalised, and most patients (79%) lived in high-income countries.

What else did the study reveal about Long COVID?

  1. More than half of all patients reported weight loss, fatigue, fever or pain.
  2. Roughly one in five survivors experienced a decrease in mobility.
  3. Nearly one in four survivors experienced difficulty concentrating.
  4. Nearly one in three patients were diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorders.
  5. Six in ten survivors had chest imaging abnormality and more than a quarter of patients had difficulty breathing.
  6. Chest pain and palpitations were among the commonly reported conditions.
  7. Nearly one in five patients experienced hair loss or rashes.
  8. Stomach pain, lack of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting were among the commonly reported conditions.

The data supports existence of “adverse health effects”

“These findings confirm what many health care workers and COVID-19 survivors have been claiming, namely, that adverse health effects from COVID-19 can linger,” said co-lead investigator Vernon Chinchilli, chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences.

“Although previous studies have examined the prevalence of long COVID symptoms among patients, this study examined a larger population, including people in high-, middle- and low-income countries, and examined many more symptoms. Therefore, we believe our findings are quite robust given the available data.”

The team believe that healthcare decision-makers need to get ready to treat the psychological and physical symptoms of Long COVID.


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