Penn State study finds half of COVID-19 survivors experience “long COVID” symptoms


HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — More than half of the 236 million people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 around the world will experience lingering symptoms of COVID-19, also known as “long COVID,” according to new research from the Penn State College of Medicine.

Researchers looked at 57 reports containing data from more than a quarter of a million unvaccinated individuals who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between December 2019 and March 2021.

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Ultimately, researchers found that “one’s battle with COVID doesn’t end with recovery from the acute infection,” as co-lead investigator and assistant professor at the Penn State Center for Neural Engineering Dr. Paddy Ssentongo said, according to a press release from the Penn State College of Medicine.

Researchers found that survivors experienced a range of residual health issues including weight loss, fatigue, fever, pain, mobility issues, or even trouble with their major organs such as lung abnormalities.

Study findings also suggest a correlation between COVID-19 and mental health challenges such as depression or anxiety, according to the press release.

The study also found that both adults and children can experience these long-term health effects for six months or more after recovering from the coronavirus.

While the mechanisms by which COVID-19 causes long-term symptoms are not completely understood, researchers say the findings from this study can help shape treatment plans and improve care for COVID-19 patients going forward.

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