Nearly half of COVID-19 survivors experience symptoms after four months, according to meta-analysis

A recent article published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases should raise the alarm about the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the global workforce.

Biostatistics researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health conducted a meta-analysis of 41 studies around the world of “post COVID-19 condition”, also known as Lung COVID, in hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients.

The worldwide prevalence of post-COVID-19 disease was estimated at 37 percent at 30 days, 25 percent at 60 days, 32 percent at 90 days and 49 percent at 120 days.

They found that fatigue was the most common symptom, followed by memory problems.

“This study finds that the prevalence of post-COVID-19 disease is significant; the health effects of COVID-19 appear to be long-lasting and can put stress on the health care system,” they wrote.

A meta-analysis is an examination of data from many independent studies on the same topic to detect trends in the study.

Globally, the prevalence of post-COVID-19 disease over the entire period was estimated at 43 percent. It was 54 percent for those who were hospitalized, compared with 34 percent for those who were not hospitalized.

The meta-analysis found that the post-COVID-19 condition was more common in women, at 49 percent, compared to men, at 37 percent.

The greatest prevalence, 51 percent, was in Asia, compared with 44 percent in Europe and 31 percent in North America.

“We defined the post-COVID-19 condition as having symptoms, or at least one new or ongoing symptom during the follow-up time,” they explained. In addition, the follow-up time of COVID-19 patients in all studies was divided into the following four groups: symptoms 28-30 days (referred to as 30 days), 60 days, 90 days, and 120 days after the index date. :

This definition differs from that of the World Health Organization.

Post-COVID-19 disease occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS CoV-2 infection, usually 3 months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms and persisting for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis,” the WHO states on its website.

“Common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive impairment but also others and generally have an impact on daily functioning,” the WHO definition continues. “Symptoms can reappear after initial recovery from an acute COVID-19 episode or persist after the initial illness. Symptoms can also fluctuate or regress over time.”


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