As many as a third of adult coronavirus patients may have long-lasting symptoms after recovery, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests.
Researchers looked at a random sample of residents in Long Beach, California, who had tested positive for COVID-19.
They found that 35 percent of patients reported fatigue, headache, cough, or loss of taste and smell at least two months after they learned they were infected.
Middle-aged adults, women and African Americans were most likely to report long-term symptoms of the virus.
A new CDC report found that more than a third of patients, or 35%, in Long Beach, California, reported symptoms of COVID-19 at least two months after they first contracted the virus. Pictured: A Covid patient in the ICU at a hospital in Boise, Idaho, August 2021
Fatigue was the most common long-term symptom at 16.9%, followed by loss of taste and difficulty breathing, loss of smell and muscle aches
Lung Covid occurs in patients who have recovered from the virus and continue to have symptoms for weeks, or possibly months or years, after the infection has cleared.
There is a wide range of symptoms that can occur, including persistent loss of taste and smell, prolonged fatigue, and long-term sensory problems.
The causes of the condition remain unknown and several studies are being conducted to explore its long-term effects.
Some theories as to what causes long-term Covid include patients with persistently low levels of the virus or damage COVID-19 causes to nerve pathways.
For the report, which was published Thursday, officials at the Long Beach Department of Health interviewed a random sample of 366 residents aged 18 or older.
All participants had received a positive COVID-19 test between April 1, 2020 and December 10, 2020.
Overall, 92.3 percent said they experienced at least one symptom of the virus during their infection.
However, 35 percent said they had at least one symptom two months after the first positive test.
Of this group, more than half of the patients — 55 percent — said their symptoms were severe or critical.
Fatigue was the most common long-term symptom: 16.9 percent reported more than eight weeks after the initial illness.
Loss of taste and difficulty breathing were the next most common, with 12.8 percent each reporting these symptoms.
Overall, 12.6 percent said they still had a loss of smell two months later, and 10.9 percent reported muscle pain.
Researchers found differences when it came to age and race with certain groups of patients at higher risk of long-term Covid.
Patients aged 40 to 54 were 2.8 times more likely to report long-term Covid symptoms than patients aged 18 to 24.
Black COVID-19 was 1.9 times more likely than white patients to have long-lasting symptoms compared to white patients.
In addition, women were 2.1 times more likely than men to experience Covid for a long time.
The CDC said one limitation of the study is its “limited sample size,” and larger studies are needed to confirm the findings.
However, the authors say these results could help determine which groups are most likely to experience long-term Covid symptoms so that resources can be targeted at them.
“As the number of recovering COVID-19 patients increases, it is important to monitor the prevalence of post-acute consequences among larger cohorts in diverse populations, as it can help develop efforts to prioritize prevention and treatment strategies.” for these populations,” they wrote.
“Identifying disparities in post-acute COVID-19 impacts could help with public health resource allocation and improve health equity as groups recover from the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”