COVID-19 Can Result in Prolonged Illness Even in Milder Cases

At median of 16 days from testing date, 35 percent report not having returned to usual state of health.

HealthDay News – Even among persons with milder outpatient illness, COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness, according to research published in the July 24 early-release issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Mark W. Tenforde, MD, PhD, from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues conducted telephone interviews with a random sample of adults aged ≥18 years with a first positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 at an outpatient visit at one of 14 academic health care systems in 13 states.

The researchers found that at the time of testing, 94% of the 292 respondents reported experiencing 1 or more symptoms; by the date of the interview (median, 16 days from testing date), 35% of symptomatic respondents reported not having returned to their usual state of health, including 26, 32, and 47% among those aged 18 to 34 years, 35 to 49 years, and ≥50 years, respectively. At the time of the interview, 43, 35, and 29% of the respondents who reported cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath, respectively, at the time of testing continued to experience these symptoms.

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“Public health messaging should target populations that might not perceive COVID-19 illness as being severe or prolonged, including young adults and those without chronic underlying medical conditions,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text