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  • Robert Preidt
  • Posted July 16, 2021

More Than a Quarter of Long COVID Patients Still Not Recovered After 6 Months

How long can some COVID symptoms linger? New research suggests that more than a quarter of adults who had COVID-19 in 2020 weren't fully recovered six to eight months later.

There's growing evidence that COVID-19 can cause long-term physical and mental health problems. These cases -- called long-haul COVID -- are a growing issue for health care systems.

This study included 431 people in Zurich, Switzerland, who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) between February and August 2020. They all completed an online health questionnaire about seven months after their initial diagnosis. Their average age was 47.

Nearly 9 in 10 of the participants had symptoms when they were diagnosed, and 19% were hospitalized at the time of their diagnosis.

Overall, 26% of the patients reported in the questionnaire they had not fully recovered after their initial COVID-19 diagnosis. Of those, 55% reported fatigue; 25% had shortness of breath, and 26% had symptoms of depression.

Women and patients who were hospitalized at the time of their diagnosis were more likely to report incomplete recovery than men and those who weren't hospitalized.

Four in 10 patients said they'd made at least one visit to a general health practitioner for lingering symptoms of COVID-19, according to the research published July 12 in the journal PLOS ONE.

This study of COVID patients "found that 26% did not fully recover within six to eight months after diagnosis and 40% had at least one further health care contact related to COVID-19," researcher Milo Puhan and colleagues at the University of Zurich wrote.

"These findings underline the need for the timely planning of health care resources and services tailored to the needs of individuals suffering from post-COVID-19 syndrome," they concluded in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on long-haul COVID.

SOURCE: PLOS ONE, news release, July 13, 2021

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