Long Covid Symptoms

  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • cough
  • joint pain
  • chest pain
  • brain fog, wherein they find it more difficult to think clearly and focus
  • depression
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • fever, which may come and go
  • heart palpitations, or a feeling of the heart pounding
  • problems with smell and taste
  • sleep issues
  • memory and concentration difficulties
  • anxiety
  • mood changes

Symptoms are from Medical News Today.

Although it is still unclear how many people have experienced long COVID, data from the COVID Symptom Study app suggest that 1 in 10 people with the illness experience symptoms for 3 weeks or longer.

Data from the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics found similar results, with roughly 1 in 10 respondents who tested positive for COVID-19 exhibiting symptoms lasting for a period of 12 weeks or longer.

One found that more than three-quarters of COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Wuhan, China, still had at least one symptom 6 months after their discharge from the hospital.

This is consistent with a 2020 study from Italy that found that of COVID-19 patients reported experiencing at least one symptom 2 months after their discharge from the hospital.

A 2020 Swiss study also notes that as many as 1 in 3 people with milder cases COVID-19 were still experiencing symptoms after 6 weeks.

This means that across the world, there may be more than 5 million cases of long COVID.

The official medical term for "Long Covid" is Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, or PASC.

Health Workers Report 'Long COVID' After Just Mild Illness

The University of Minnesota research center reports Health Workers Report 'Long COVID' After Just Mild Illness

Fifteen percent of healthcare workers at a Swedish hospital who recovered from mild COVID-19 at least 8 months before report at least one moderate to severe symptom disrupting their work, home, or social life, according to a research letter published yesterday in JAMA.

Of the 323 participants who were seropositive, or had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, indicating previous infection, 26% reported at least one moderate to severe symptom persisting for at least 2 months, compared with 9% of 1,072 seronegative participants (risk ratio [RR], 2.9). Similarly, 15% of seropositive and 3% of seronegative participants said they had a lingering symptom for 8 months or more (RR, 4.4).

Likewise, 15% of seropositive participants said their persistent symptoms disrupted their social life to a moderate to marked degree, compared with 6% of the seronegative group (RR, 2.5). And 12% of the seropositive group reported disruptions to their home life, versus 5% of the seronegative group (RR, 2.3).

In addition to reporting at least one symptom lasting 8 months or longer, 11% of seropositive participants indicated a moderate to marked disruption in any category of the Sheehan Disability Scale, compared with 2% of the seronegative group (RR, 4.5).

The most common symptoms lasting for at least 2 months in the seropositive group included fatigue, loss of smell or taste, and shortness of breath.

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How Do You Prove You Are Sick?

For many sufferers of long Covid, proving they are sick is a big part of the battle.

Lyth Hishmeh kept feeling ill months after contracting coronavirus a year ago in March. He had chest pain and couldn't concentrate. At 26 years old, the former regular runner was fatigued and breathless, struggling to function properly. Yet medical professionals kept telling him he simply could not still be ill.

"They were telling me it's all in my head," he said. For Hishmeh who lives in London and many sufferers of long Covid, proving they are sick has become a big part of trying to get better.

Another Londoner, Monique Jackson, has lost count of the number of times her pain was described as 'just anxiety.' 

In the UK alone, almost 700,000 people reported having symptoms for at least three months after getting infected with Covid-19, according to a survey done by the UK Office for National Statistics in March. A majority of the 700,000 said their illness was limiting their day-to-day activities and for almost 70,000, the symptoms have lasted for more than a year.

"The scale is enormous," said Dr. Clare Rayner, a retired occupational health physician and herself a long Covid patient. 

"We have an enormous amount of people who have been off sick for a year, they are young people, mainly they are of working age, most seem to have been completely healthy before and suddenly they cannot work," she said.

Not Just Like the Flu

Covid is not just like the flu. Nor is it no worse than the flu. 

As of today, there are over 575,000 US deaths. That total does not include excess deaths.

Estimates are millions of people globally have some symptoms of Long Covid. 

And about 10% of the Long Covid sufferers are not able to function enough to work.

Mish

Covid Tracking Project: How Long to 1 Million US Cases?

The Covid Tracking Project offers data downloads. I created the above chart from their data.