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Study: Nearly one-third report lingering symptom 6-12 months after COVID-19

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Posted at 3:58 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 20:44:33-05

(WXYZ) — A new study found that nearly a third of people who tested positive for COVID-19 had a lingering symptom that lasted for six to 12 months.

The participants were not hospitalized. In fact, this study followed one of the largest groups of people who did not need to be admitted to a hospital because they were not severely sick.

The data was gathered in Denmark. What researchers did was survey 152,000 people. Of that group, just over 61,000 tested positive for coronavirus. The rest were not infected — I’ll refer to them as the control group. Here’s what was found:

Between six and 12 months after testing positive for the virus, 29.6% of the infected people had at least one lingering physical symptom. Whereas in the control group, it was 13%.

Fatigue and changes in taste and smell were reportedly the top symptoms.

However, the researchers also listed mental exhaustion, physical exhaustion, sleep issues and cognitive difficulties. And unfortunately, 53.1% of the people who tested positive said they had experienced one of those symptoms six to 12 months following infection, whereas in the control group, it was 11.5%.

Lastly, the study also found that new cases of anxiety and depression were diagnosed more frequently in the group that had contracted COVID-19 compared to the group that wasn’t infected.

The study took place between September 2020 and April 2021, long before omicron became dominant. So, there is some concern that we might see a lot more cases of long COVID-19 because so many people were infected with omicron.

The study did not release any information concerning participants being vaccinated. However, there are other studies that suggest vaccinated people are less likely to end up with long COVID-19.

For example, research in the UK found much lower odds of COVID-19 symptoms lasting more than 28 days in people who were double vaccinated. In fact, data showed they were roughly 50% less likely to develop long COVID-19.

Now I know our case numbers have dropped considerably, but this virus isn’t likely to just disappear. So, I’m going to say once again that it’s important to be vaccinated and boosted. You can cut the odds of developing long COVID-19, which by the way, there is no cure or treatment for. And getting vaccinated can also help prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.