New research published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open finds that 30% of people with Covid-19 continue to have symptoms up to nine months after initial infection.
In the longest follow-up of Covid-19 patients to date, researchers followed 177 individuals with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 diagnoses for up to nine months, and found that about 30% continue to have persistent symptoms.
Of the 177 patients followed, 150 (84.7%) were never hospitalized and considered to have mild illness and 11(6.2%) were asymptomatic. 23 out of the 177 also had hypertension.
Meanwhile, 49 (32.7%) of non-hospitalized patients and 5(31.3%) of patients with severe disease reported having at least 1 in the follow up.
A previous study of the same group found that 36% of non-hospitalized patients had lingering symptoms 2-3 weeks after initial diagnosis.
The most common symptoms were fatigue reported by 24 patients (13.6%) and loss of taste or smell reported by another 24 patients (13.6%).
Overall, 23 patients (13%) reported other symptoms including cough, trouble breathing, and muscle aches. 4 patients (2.3%) said they continued having brain fog. Among the 16 hospitalized patients, more than 80% reported to still have trouble breathing. More than 80% of the hospitalized group also reported still having a cough and more than 80% of the group also reported feeling feverish up to 9 months after diagnosis.
More than 30% of respondents reported worse quality of life compared to before getting sick. And 14 participants (8%) — including 9 people who had not been hospitalized — reported having trouble performing at least one usual activity, such as daily chores.
While the researchers noted the small sample size was a limitation, they wrote that with 57.8 million cases worldwide, “even a small incidence of long-term debility could have enormous health and economic consequences.” wrote the researchers.