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Over 25% of COVID patients are symptomatic six months later

In a new study published by PLOS, experts have investigated the long term effects of COVID-19. The researchers recruited 431 people who had contracted the disease and tested positive between February and August 2020 in Zurich, Switzerland to ask about their experience. 

Participants reported on their health and symptoms roughly seven months after contracting COVID. Overall, 89 percent of the individuals had symptoms when they were first diagnosed, and 19 percent required hospitalization at the time. Most of the study participants were relatively young, averaging only 47 years of age.

Six to eight months after their initial diagnosis, 26 percent of the people in the study reported that they still had some symptoms. Fatigue was still an issue for me than half of the individuals, while 25 percent had shortness of breath. 

Symptoms of depression were reported by 26 percent of the participants, and 40 percent reported at least one doctor visit related to COVID.

The continuing symptoms are now officially referred to as “long COVID” or “post-COVID-19 syndrome.” This is a growing problem for health care systems which may or may not have adequate resources to treat persistent symptoms. 

The study authors say that their research highlights the need for resource planning and medical attention tailored to those suffering from COVID-19.    

“This cohort study based on a representative, population-based sample of SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals found that 26% did not fully recover within 6-8 months after diagnosis and 40% had at least one further healthcare contact related to COVID-19,” said the researchers.

“These findings underline the need for the timely planning of healthcare resources and services tailored to the needs of individuals suffering from post-COVID-19 syndrome.”

The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.

By Zach Fitzner, Staff Writer

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