Study finds 37% of people suffered as a long hauler months after COVID-19 infection

Posted at 7:00 PM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 19:26:07-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - More people may be suffering from long hauler symptoms due to COVID-19.

A new study from the University of Oxford and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) released findings after studying symptoms from more than 270,000 people who had been diagnosed with COVID.

The report said 37% of people had at least one long-lasting COVID symptom diagnosed in the 3-6 month period after COVID-19 infection.

It reported the most common symptoms as breathing problems, abdominal symptoms, fatigue, pain and anxiety/depression.

Researchers said they used data from the US-based TriNetX electronic health record network.

The symptoms were reported 90-180 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Related: COVID-19 long hauler constantly smells something burning months after testing positive

The study said the nine core long-lasting COVID symptoms, which occurred 90-180 days after COVID-19 was diagnosed, comprise of:

  • Abnormal breathing – 8%
  • Abdominal symptoms – 8%
  • Anxiety/depression – 15%
  • Chest/throat pain – 6%
  • Cognitive problems ("brain fog") – 4%
  • Fatigue – 6%
  • Headache – 5%
  • Myalgia (muscle pain) – 1.5%
  • Other pain – 7%
  • Any of the above features – 37%

According to Oxford University, "Severity of infection, age, and sex affected the likelihood of long-COVID symptoms: long-COVID symptoms were more frequent in those who had been hospitalized, and they were slightly more common in women. These factors also influenced which of the symptoms people were most likely to experience. For example, older people and men had more breathing difficulties and cognitive problems, whereas young people and women had more headaches, abdominal symptoms and anxiety/depression. Many patients had more than one long-COVID symptom, and symptoms tended to co-occur more as time progressed. The study also looked at the same symptoms in people recovering from influenza. Long-COVID symptoms did occur after influenza, but were 1.5 times more common after COVID-19. This study does not explain what causes long-COVID symptoms, nor how severe they are, nor how long they will last. The results do not take into account people who had COVID-19 but were not diagnosed, e.g. because they were asymptomatic and did not get tested, nor COVID-19 survivors with long-COVID symptoms that had not been recorded in their health records."

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.