A new study published in the medical journal Lancet found that patients who had COVID-19 can experience symptoms for at least six months after they have recovered.
"Our analysis indicates that most patients continue to live with at least some of the effects of the virus after leaving the hospital, and highlights a need for post-discharge care," Dr. Bin Cao, an author of the study and vice-director of the Center for Respiratory Diseases at China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing, said in a statement.
Researchers reviewed the cases of 1,733 people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, in the early days of the global pandemic. They underwent physical exams, lab tests, and a six-minute walk test, which measures their aerobic capacity.
They found that nearly 75% of the patients reported lingering symptoms from COVID-19. Sixty-three percent said they continued to deal with fatigue and muscle weakness, while 26 percent reported suffering from insomnia. An additional 23 percent reporting having feelings of anxiety or depression. They also found that 22 percent of those who did not require a ventilator while hospitalized had a reduced flow of oxygen from their lungs to their bloodstream.
"This is one of the first publications that really describes in some level of detail longer-term outcomes among quite a large group of people," Dr. Michael Peluso, an infectious disease physician at the University of California San Francisco, who was not involved in the study, told the New York Times. "It documents what people providing clinical care to COVID patients have known for a while now — that a large proportion of people do have long-term health consequences."
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