The authors of the work studied the data of about 73 thousand people. All of them had been ill with COVID-19, but none of them required hospitalization during the acute phase of the disease. Their health indicators for six months after being infected with the coronavirus were compared with the data of the control group – about 5 million healthy people. The median age of the study participants was 61, 88% of whom were men.
After the first month from infection with SARS-CoV-2 to the sixth month, people who had mild COVID-19 had a 60% higher risk of death than those who were not infected with the coronavirus. In addition, recovered veterans were 20% more likely to require outpatient care within six months. Excess deaths associated with long-term complications in COVID-19 survivors have not always been reported as a consequence of coronavirus infection.
“These numbers indicate that the number of deaths we are counting due to acute viral infection is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, head of research at the Saint Louis Health System. lead author of the study.
Those who had recovered from COVID-19 after an acute period of infection often developed long-term current symptoms that they had never encountered before (according to medical records) – from different organ systems and the psyche. Examples of excess morbidity in people who have had COVID-19 compared to those who were not infected (the number of additional cases of various pathologies and symptoms per 1000 people):
- respiratory system symptoms (which were not present in acute COVID-19) a month after infection – 28 more cases;
- lipid metabolism disorders – by 12;
- diabetes mellitus – by 8;
- abdominal pain – by 6;
- hypertension – 15;
- arrhythmia – at 8;
- heart failure – by 4;
- symptoms from the nervous system – by 15;
- headache – 4;
- anemia – at 5;
- weakness – by 13;
- sleep disorders – by 14;
- anxiety – by 5.
Accordingly, after suffering from COVID-19, people began to consume more various medicines.
“We found everything. It looked shocking all together. “God, look at this scale,” it came to mind, ”Dr. Ziyad Al-Ali told The New York Times. The authors emphasize that many of the discovered “postcoid” diseases – including diabetes mellitus, cardiological and nephrological pathologies – can proceed chronically, requiring treatment for a lifetime.
Scientists noted that the study does not allow to judge whether all the symptoms that appeared in people after COVID-19 were the result of infection. Available data do not provide complete information on comorbidities.