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Study Finds Women, White And Older People At Greater Risk Of ‘Long Covid’

Published 1 month ago
By Forbes

TOPLINE

The risk of long Covid is higher among women, older people, white people and individuals with certain pre-existing health conditions, a new study released Tuesday in U.K. journal Nature found, as more research sheds light on how lingering Covid symptoms affect people recovering from the illness over the long-term.

KEY FACTS

The study of 6,907 individuals with self-reported Covid-19 and 1.1 million individuals with a Covid-19 diagnosis recorded in electronic healthcare systems collected last spring found 7.8% to 17% of people with Covid-19 showed “long Covid” symptoms longer than 12 weeks, including 1.2% to 4.8% with “debilitating symptoms.”

Long Covid is defined as a “wide range of ongoing health problems” that can last “weeks, months, or years,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms include fatigue, memory issues, breathing issues and altered or lost sense of smell or taste – for weeks or months.

Women are nearly two-thirds more likely to exhibit long-term symptoms (457.9 cases per 100,000) as men (312.3 cases), researchers found, using primary-care data from OpenSAFELY.

White respondents showed the greatest likelihood of contracting long Covid (414.9 cases per 100,000), followed by people who identified as mixed-race (390.5), South Asian (305.3), Black (281.2) and people of other races not specified in the study (319.8).

Mental health also played a key role, with an average of 614.6 cases of long-term symptoms out of 100,000 people with at least one mental health disorder, compared to 330.7 for people without a mental health disorder.

KEY BACKGROUND

The study comes one week after a report from the Dutch Center for Infectious Disease Control found 50% of study participants showed one or more symptoms three months after infection. That study also found no difference in long Covid symptoms – except for the loss of smell and taste – between vaccinated and unvaccinated people under 65. In May, the CDC found one in five people with Covid may develop long Covid – although a Washington University School of Medicine study of 13 million veterans found vaccinations could cut that risk by 15%. Data from the U.K. Office for General Statistics similarly found the odds of long Covid drop by 13% after a single vaccine dose.

FURTHER READING

Dutch Research On Long Covid Shows 50% Of Study Participants Have 1 Or More Symptoms 3 Months After Becoming Infected With Coronavirus (Forbes)

By Brian Bushard, Forbes Staff

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