According to a recent study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly two-thirds of persons who experienced chronic COVID-19 symptoms during the first two years of the epidemic were female.
The global study also discovered that in 2020 and 2021, roughly 6% of those with symptomatic infections also had extended COVID. Those who required hospitalisation, especially those who need intensive care, appeared to be at higher risk for long-term COVID.
In order to guarantee that people have proper access to resources that will help them recover, return to work or school, and regain their mental health and social lives, policymakers may find it useful to quantify the number of people who have Long COVID.
Data from 54 studies and two databases for more than 1 million patients in 22 countries who had symptomatic COVID infections in 2020 and 2021 were evaluated by the study team, which included dozens of researchers from almost every continent. They examined three distinct categories of long-lasting COVID symptoms: continuous respiratory disorders, cognitive impairments, and persistent exhaustion with physical discomfort or mood changes. Ages 4 to 66 were represented in the study.
In all, 6.2% of participants reported one of the lengthy COVID symptom types, with 3.7% reporting persistent respiratory issues, 3.2% experiencing chronic fatigue, physical aches, or mood changes, and 2.2% reporting cognitive issues. 38% of those with a lengthy COVID reported having more than one cluster of symptoms.
Long COVID symptoms were present 3 months after infection in 10.6% of women and 5.4% of men who were at least 20 years old, almost twice as many women as males.
The risk of extended COVID appears to be reduced in children and adolescents. Infected patients under the age of 20 who had symptoms suffered long-term problems in about 2.8% of cases.
In patients who were hospitalised, the projected average length of time with long COVID symptoms was 9 months, compared to 4 months for patients who weren’t. 15% of those who had long-lasting COVID symptoms three months after the first infection were still experiencing symptoms at twelve months.
In-depth information from current COVID-19 research in the United States, Austria, the Faroe Islands, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland served as the study’s main data source, according to UPI. Published data and analysis from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study were used to supplement it. “Global Burden of Disease Long COVID Collaborators” is the name given to the several researchers.
The assumption that long COVID takes a similar path in all nations is one of the study’s shortcomings, according to the researchers. They emphasise that further research may reveal the extent to which COVID symptoms and severity vary across nations and continents.
The authors of the study note that “post-infection fatigue syndrome” has been reported before, specifically during the 1918 flu pandemic, after the SARS outbreak in 2003, and after the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014. They conclude that ongoing studies of large numbers of people with long COVID could ultimately help scientists and public health officials understand risk factors and ways to treat the crippling condition.
Similar symptoms have also been described following nonviral infections including Q fever, Lyme disease, and giardiasis, as well as viral infections like mononucleosis, dengue, and the Epstein-Barr virus.