72% of COVID-19 survivors have persistent symptoms, study finds

Nearly three-fourths of people who recover from COVID-19 have at least one lingering symptom, according to a study published May 26 in Jama Network Open.

Researchers at Stanford (Calif.) School of Medicine conducted a systematic review of 45 studies on long-term COVID-19 symptoms published between Jan. 1, 2020, and March 11. The research included 9,751 participants, 83 percent of whom had been hospitalized. Researchers defined persistent symptoms as those lasting for at least 60 days after diagnosis, symptom onset or hospitalization, or at least 30 days after recovery or discharge. 

They found 72.5 percent of study participants reported at least one persistent symptom. In total, participants reported 84 different symptoms and clinical signs of COVID-19. The most common lingering symptoms included shortness of breath, fatigue and sleep disorders.

There was a lot of variation in the studies' design and quality, which makes it difficult to compare results, but the review still shows persistent symptoms are common among COVID-19 survivors, according to senior author Steven Goodman, MD, PhD, a professor of epidemiology, population health and medicine at Stanford.

"If something on the order of 70 percent of those coming out of moderate to serious COVID-19 are showing persisting symptoms, that is a huge number," Dr. Goodman said in a news release, raising concerns about the potential public health burden of so many patients requiring continued care. 

To view the full study, click here.


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