Fatigue and shortness of breath still afflict many patients a year after their hospitalisation for Covid-19, according to a new Chinese study calling for a better understanding of the pandemic's long-term health effects.
News18 explains the proportion and why the large majority still suffers from lingering symptoms:
How many people have long-lasting symptoms?
Around half of the patients discharged from hospital for Covid still suffer from at least one persistent symptom — most often fatigue or muscle weakness — after 12 months, said the study published in British medical journal The Lancet.
The research added that one in three patients still have shortness of breath a year after their diagnosis.
That number is even higher in patients hit more severely by the illness.
But why are people suffering even after a year of recovery?
"With no proven treatments or even rehabilitation guidance, long Covid affects people's ability to resume normal life and their capacity to work,” The Lancet said in an editorial published with the study.
"The study shows that for many patients, full recovery from Covid-19 will take more than 1 year.”
Can we also call it long covid?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, post-Covid conditions, also known as long COVID or long-haul COVID, are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes Covid-19.
It is also known as post-acute Covid-19, long-term effects of Covid, or chronic Covid.
What are the Multiorgan or Autoimmune conditions?
According to the CDC, some who have had severe COVID-19 can also “experience multiorgan effects or autoimmune conditions over a longer time with symptoms lasting weeks or months after COVID-19 illness.” Multiorgan effects can affect most, if not all, body systems, including heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain functions.
Some people, mostly children, may also experience a rare condition known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) during or immediately after a COVID-19 infection.
What are the impacts?
In a statement on 25 February 2021, Professor Martin McKee, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies noted that long COVID can be extremely debilitating and can have a huge impact on people's lives.
“Many are unable to return to work or have a social life. Many have described how it affects their mental health, especially as the course of the condition is often fluctuating; just as they feel they are getting better the symptoms return. And of course, it has important economic consequences for them, their families and for society,” he said.