Covid-19 patients still experience symptoms 6 months later, new study suggests

Patient in a Doctors office.
Patient in a Doctors office.
Getty Images

A recent study that was conducted by The Lancet medical journal in Wuhan is suggesting that more than three-quarters of patients who are discharged from hospital after contracting the coronavirus still experience symptoms six months later.

The study, which had 1733 participants, says that 76% of the patients suffered at least one symptom six months after they were discharged from hospital. The research which was conducted between January and May 2020 and found that sleeping difficulties, muscle weakness and fatigue were the most common lingering symptoms.

It also suggested that people who have recovered from Covid-19 could suffer long-lasting health impacts from their experience with the virus, which has infected more than 90 million people worldwide so far.

READ MORE | How to differentiate between symptoms of COVID-19 and summer allergies

“Because Covid-19 is such a new disease, we are only beginning to understand some of its long-term effects on patients’ health,” lead author, Professor Bin Cao of the National Centre for Respiratory Medicine, said in a statement.

The virus could also have long-lasting psychological complications, with anxiety and depression reported among 23% of the patients, the study found.

READ MORE | Newborns at very low risk of contracting COVID-19 from infected moms – new study suggests

“Our analysis indicates that most patients continue to live with at least some of the effects of the virus after leaving hospital, and highlights a need for post-discharge care, particularly for those who experience severe infections. Our work also underscores the importance of conducting longer follow-up studies in larger populations in order to understand the full spectrum of effects that Covid-19 can have on people,” Cao added.

According to the World Health Organisation, Covid-19 can sometimes result in prolonged illness , even in young people who have no underlying conditions. They also add that it is not uncommon for people not to regain their previous health after contracting the virus.

Other symptoms which may persist even after recovery
  • Cough, congestion or shortness of breath
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Headache, body aches
  • Diarrhea, nausea
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Confusion

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24