Half of people hospitalised with Covid-19 have symptoms two years on

A study of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 in Wuhan, China found over half still had at least one symptom caused by the initial infection two years later, compared to 68% at six months post-infection.

Around half of study participants had symptoms of long Covid – such as fatigue and sleep difficulties – at two years, and experienced poorer quality of life and ability to exercise, more mental health issues, and increased use of health-care services compared to those without symptoms of long Covid.

In general, patients who had recovered from Covid-19 tended to be in poorer health two years after the initial infection compared to the general population, indicating that some patients need more time to recover fully.

The study, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, included 1,192 participants, who were hospitalised with Covid between 7 January and 29 May 2020.

person in blue jacket holding white textile

The long-term health impacts of COVID-19 have remained largely unknown, as the longest follow-up studies to date have spanned around one year. The lack of pre-Covid-19 health status baselines and comparisons with the general population in most studies have also made it difficult to determine how well patients with Covid-19 have recovered.

Lead author Professor Bin Cao, of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, China, said: ‘Our findings indicate that for a certain proportion of hospitalised COVID-19 survivors, while they may have cleared the initial infection, more than two years is needed to recover fully from COVID-19.

‘Ongoing follow-up of COVID-19 survivors, particularly those with symptoms of long COVID, is essential to understand the longer course of the illness, as is further exploration of the benefits of rehabilitation programmes for recovery.

‘There is a clear need to provide continued support to a significant proportion of people who’ve had COVID-19, and to understand how vaccines, emerging treatments, and variants affect long-term health outcomes.’

In related news, 30% of people treated for Covid-19 developed ‘Long Covid’, according to new research from UCLA.

Photo by Mufid Majnun


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