While COVID-19 restrictions are easing, the disease and lasting effects remain to be reckoned with.
Via Nature.com: "Count the cost of disability caused by COVID-19
"The COVID-19 pandemic is well into its second year, but countries are only beginning to grapple with the lasting health crisis. In March, a UK consortium reported that 1 in 5 people who were hospitalized with the disease had a new disability after discharge1. A large US study found similar effects for both hospitalized and non-hospitalized people2. Among adults who were not hospitalized, 1 in 10 have ongoing symptoms 12 weeks after a positive test3. Treatment services for the long-term consequences of COVID-19 are already having to be absorbed into health and care systems urgently. Tackling this requires a much clearer picture of the burden of the disease than currently exists.
Tracking disease cases and deaths has advantages in a health emergency — they are easily collated, and, to some extent, trends can be compared across countries. But continuing the use of such simplified metrics heightens the risks of underestimating the true health impact on a population. It focuses policy and public discourse on the immediate prevention of deaths and on the economic impact of lockdown policies, ignoring the long-term disease-related disabilities that will also affect well-being and productivity."
Question What are the frequency and variety of persistent symptoms after COVID-19 infection?Findings In this systematic review of 45 studies including 9751 participants with COVID-19, the median proportion of individuals who experienced at least 1 persistent symptom was 73%; symptoms occurring most frequently included shortness of breath or dyspnea, fatigue or exhaustion, and sleep disorders or insomnia. However, the studies were highly heterogeneous and needed longer follow-up and more standardized designs.Meaning This systematic review found that COVID-19 symptoms commonly persisted beyond the acute phase of infection, with implications for health-associated functioning and quality of life; however, methodological improvements are needed to reliably quantify these risks.
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