Continuing to experience symptoms of COVID-19 or other health problems—especially fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, and difficulty concentrating—more than four weeks after the illness is over is known as Persistent or prolonged COVIDand it can happen to anyone – even if their initial symptoms were not severe – interfering with their daily activities and worsening their quality of life.
The emergence of new variants and sub-variants that, like kraken, are considered highly contagious is an added concern because as more people become infected or reinfected with the SAR-CoV-2 coronavirus, persistent COVID cases are expected to increase as well. However, the results of a new study offer hope because they indicate that most of the symptoms or conditions that develop after a mild coronavirus infection They keep for a few months, but remit after one year.
The research has been carried out in Israel and has been published in The British Medical Journal and according to their findings, the vast majority of patients who experience mild COVID do not suffer from serious or chronic diseases in the long term. In addition, they also show that people who had received the vaccine had a lower risk of breathing difficulties than unvaccinated people.
“Our study suggests that patients with mild COVID-19 are at risk of a small number of health outcomes, with most resolving within a year of diagnosis,” the researchers said, adding: “It is Importantly, the risk of persistent breathlessness was reduced in vaccinated patients with advanced infection, compared with unvaccinated people, while the risks for all other outcomes were comparable.”
Increased risk of weakness and respiratory difficulties after COVID
The researchers compared the health of uninfected people with that of those who had recovered from mild COVID-19 for a year after infection. They used electronic records from a large public health care organization in Israel, which tested nearly two million members for COVID-19 between March 1, 2020, and October 1, 2021.
Vaccinated people who became infected had a lower risk of respiratory distress than unvaccinated infected patients, and a similar risk of other conditions
More than 70 long-term COVID conditions were analyzed in a group of infected and uninfected members, whose average age was 25 years and 51% were women. They compared conditions in unvaccinated people, with and without COVID-19 infection, during the early (30-180 days) and late (180-360 days) time periods after infection. Factors such as their age and sex, coronavirus variants, alcohol consumption, smoking, socioeconomic level and different previous chronic pathologies were taken into account. Conditions in vaccinated and unvaccinated people with COVID-19 were also compared during the same time periods.
COVID-19 infection was significantly associated with a increased risk of various conditionssuch as loss of smell and taste, loss of ability to concentrate and memory, breathing difficulties, weakness, palpitations, strep throat and dizziness in the early and late periods of time, while hair loss, chest pain , cough, muscle aches and pains, and respiratory disorders resolved in the late period.
For example, compared with uninfected people, mild COVID-19 was associated with a 4.5-fold increased risk of loss of smell and taste (about 20 more people per 10,000) in the baseline period and a higher risk almost three times higher (11 per 10,000 people) in the late period. The overall burden of conditions after infection during the 12-month study period was higher for the weakness (136 more people for every 10,000) and the breathing difficulties (107 for every 10,000).
When health problems were assessed by age, respiratory difficulties were the most common, found in five of the six age groups, but persisting for the first year after infection in the 19-40 age groups, 41 -60 and over 60 years. The weakness appeared in four of the six age groups and remained persistent in the late phase only in the 19-40 and 41-60 age groups.
There were minor differences in male and female patients, and children had fewer outcomes than adults during the early phase of COVID-19, which mostly resolved in the late period. The findings were similar in the wild type, alpha and variants of COVID-19 delta. Vaccinated people who became infected were found to have a lower risk of respiratory distress than infected unvaccinated patients, and a similar risk of other conditions.
Among the limitations of the study that its authors have recognized is the incomplete measurement within the medical records, so it is possible that the data do not fully reflect the diagnoses and results provided. And they also cannot rule out the possibility that patients with COVID-19 see a doctor more frequently, and therefore there is a greater number of reports and a greater detection of possible COVID-related outcomes in these patients.