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Postcovid Syndrome may be common and serious.

Summary:
At the beginning of this outbreak there was concern in some quarters that a few COVID19 victims might suffer long term consequences.  This happens with some other viruses and even in a few cases with flu.  Initial studies are showing very disturbing results for a prolonged illness after recovery from COVID19 infection.Broad, but unscientific, surveys of large numbers of people seem to show persistent symptoms in 5-10% of those who have recovered from COVID19. Fatigue and breathlessness being the most common problems.  The Kings College tracking app showed that 10% people had symptoms at 25 days and 5% were still ill one month later.A patient led group has been set up to report on symptoms (An Analysis of the Prolonged COVID-19 Symptoms Survey by Patient-Led Research Team ) and their

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At the beginning of this outbreak there was concern in some quarters that a few COVID19 victims might suffer long term consequences.  This happens with some other viruses and even in a few cases with flu.  Initial studies are showing very disturbing results for a prolonged illness after recovery from COVID19 infection.

Broad, but unscientific, surveys of large numbers of people seem to show persistent symptoms in 5-10% of those who have recovered from COVID19. Fatigue and breathlessness being the most common problems.  The Kings College tracking app showed that 10% people had symptoms at 25 days and 5% were still ill one month later.

A patient led group has been set up to report on symptoms (An Analysis of the Prolonged COVID-19 Symptoms Survey by Patient-Led Research Team ) and their results are disturbing. At the time their participants took the survey, 90.6% of the respondents had not recovered.  For the 60 respondents who had recovered, the average length of time spent being symptomatic was 27 days. The respondents who had not recovered had been experiencing symptoms for an average of 40 days, with a majority experiencing symptoms for 5-7 weeks. In principle the virus should have been cleared by 4 weeks so the symptoms imply Postcovid Syndrome in 90% of respondents.  These results are in line with the findings of medical/academic researchers below.

The few more controlled studies seem to show more severe long term effects.  A study published in July showed that of 100 patients who had recovered from COVID19 were studied.  Some of these patients had had a mild infection and around half were under 49 years old.  Of these "recovered" patients 78% had some heart damage and 60% had ongoing inflammation of the heart, 17% had atypical chest pain and 20% had palpitations, 36% reported ongoing shortness of breath and general exhaustion and 25% had these symptoms during less-than-ordinary daily activities, such as a household chore, only 4 of these patients were previously hospitalized.  (This paper was subject to amendment but the amendments were of a technical nature).

In another study, of more severe cases who had been hospitalised, 143 patients who had been discharged from hospital after being treated for COVID19 were rated for persistent symptoms.  The results are shown in the graph below:

Postcovid Syndrome may be common and serious.
Again fatigue and breathlessness (Dyspnea) were very common. 87.4% of patients reported at least one symptom.

The figures for mental distress after COVID19 are similar to those found in patients who have recovered from SARS.

These preliminary results and surveys show that whatever your age and health it is very important not to catch COVID19.  It is worrying that the news media are covering this disease as harmless for young adults.  The truth is that for some young adults, perhaps a large number, it could blight the rest of their lives.  This may certainly be the case for between 5% to 60% of victims with my current best guess that we should expect that over 10% of those adults of all ages who have had COVID19 will be intermittently ill for years.

25/9/2020




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