COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on American life. Several months into the pandemic, it was clear that it would not go away anytime soon. More than two years later, we must learn to live with COVID, experts say. An aspect that millions of people are learning to live with: long-lasting symptoms. Estimates of how many people have ‘long COVID’ vary. A study found it may be larger than previously thought. Read on to learn more – and to protect your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you already had COVID.
A new study of early COVID patients has found that in a group of people who had COVID-19, more than half of them reported long COVID symptoms two years later.
In research published this month in Lancet Respiratory Medicine, scientists examined more than 1,100 people in China who had been hospitalized for COVID-19 in the first months of the pandemic. They found that 6 months after being infected, 68% reported long-term COVID symptoms, and 55% two years later.
“This is incredibly troubling given that long-term COVID affects not only hospitalized patients, but also non-hospitalized patients (who were not studied here),” Dr. David F. Putrino, Associate Professor of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at Mount Sinai in New York, narrates Medical news today. “This study serves as a reminder that death is not the only serious consequence of acute COVID-19 infection.”
The most common long-term COVID symptoms were muscle weakness or fatigue and trouble sleeping, reported by 31% of study participants. The study also found that people in the group with long-standing COVID symptoms were 62% more likely to have mobility problems, more than four times more likely to experience pain or discomfort, and more than seven times more likely to experience anxiety or depression than people who didn’t have COVID.
Long COVID (also known as PASC, for post-acute episodes of COVID-19) is the umbrella term for a variety of symptoms that appear after a COVID-19 infection and can last for weeks or months after the infection resolves. These include breathing problems, fatigue, and neurological issues like brain fog. They can vary in severity from uncomfortable to debilitating.
It’s a significant problem. Aside from the Chinese study, other large studies suggest that 20 to 30 percent of those infected with COVID-19 will develop a long COVID. The General Accounting Office estimates that between 8 and 23 million Americans have long developed COVID so far.
Although the Chinese study referred to a specific group at the beginning of the pandemic, a Study released this week The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided new insight into the long impact of COVID in America.
According to CDC data, as of November 2021, one in five Americans ages 18 to 64 reported a later health condition that may have been linked to COVID-19. It was one in four adults over the age of 65. The researchers also found that people who had COVID were twice as likely to develop a pulmonary embolism [a blood clot in the lungs, which can be fatal] or respiratory diseases than people who have contracted the virus.
“As the total number of people ever infected with SARS-CoV-2 increases, the number of survivors suffering from post-COVID illness is also likely to increase,” the researchers write. “Therefore, implementation of COVID-19 prevention strategies as well as routine assessment of post-COVID conditions in individuals surviving COVID-19 is critical to reduce the incidence and impact of post-COVID conditions, particularly.” in adults aged ≥ 65 years.”
Follow the basics and help end this pandemic no matter where you live – get vaccinated as soon as possible; if you live in an area with low vaccination Prices, enter an N95 face masknot travelling, maintaining social distancing, avoiding large crowds, not going indoors with people you are not sheltering with (especially in bars), practicing good hand hygiene and protecting your life and the lives of others, not visiting any of these 35 places where you are most likely to contract COVID.
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been featured on Beachbody and Openfit. As a writer for Eat This, Not That! he has also published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview and many others. Continue reading