One in five COVID-19 survivors aged 18-64 experience post-COVID symptoms -study

The study also found that people who have already had COVID-19 are at double the risk of developing respiratory conditions or pulmonary embolism.

An undated transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient. (photo credit: NIAID INTEGRATED RESEARCH FACILITY (IRF)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
An undated transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient.
(photo credit: NIAID INTEGRATED RESEARCH FACILITY (IRF)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

One in five individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 and one in four who are at least 65 years old experience at least one condition due to prior COVID-19, and people who have already had the viral disease are at double the risk of developing respiratory conditions or pulmonary embolism, according to a new study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The researchers gathered health data from March 2020–November 2021 for people in the United States aged 18 or older, accounting for 26 conditions often linked to post-COVID among people who had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19, and compared these cases to patients who had not previously been diagnosed with the disease. The researchers followed each case for between a month and a year until one or more post-COVID symptoms were observed or until November 1.

The researchers found that 38% of patients 18 years old or older experienced a post-COVID condition compared with 16% of the control group. Symptoms affected multiple systems and included hematologic, renal, endocrine, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurologic, and psychiatric ones.

 Test tubes labelled ''COVID-19 Omicron variant test positive'' are seen in this illustration picture taken January 15, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION) Test tubes labelled ''COVID-19 Omicron variant test positive'' are seen in this illustration picture taken January 15, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/ILLUSTRATION)

Patient age groups

Furthermore, the researchers found that 35.4% of patients aged 18-64 experienced a post-COVID condition compared with 14.6% of that age group in the control group, while 45.4% of patients aged 65 or older experienced one compared with 18.5% in the control group.

The findings suggest that those who have been previously infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus are significantly more likely to have post-COVID symptoms than those who had not.

The study added that the wider implementation of COVID-19 prevention strategies and routine assessments for people who have had the disease is essential in order to minimize the occurrence of post-COVID symptoms, especially among those older than 65.