Two new studies are adding to a growing body of evidence suggesting COVID-19 causes chronic, debilitating symptoms long past infection and illness. There are now more than 50 symptoms tied to COVID in mild, moderate and severe cases. Fatigue, headaches, brain fog, hair loss, and loss of smell are the most common lingering effects while more worrying symptoms such as lung problems, chest pain, heart problems, sleep disorders and neurological issues have also been reported.
The first investigation is a large meta-analysis that included data from 15 studies in the US, Britain and Europe and involved nearly 48-thousand patients. It found eight out of 10 COVID-19 patients had lingering symptoms or signs 14 or more days after acute infection. At Houston Methodist Research Institute, one site where the data was collected, clinicians found fatigue was the most common symptom of both long and acute COVID-19, and remained present 100 days after onset.
The meta-analysis revealed that during follow up appointments, more than a third of patients had an abnormal chest x-ray or CT scan. Tests also showed elevated biomarkers for inflammation, such as D-dimer and C-reactive protein (CPR). Other symptoms included persistent cough, chest discomfort and pulmonary fibrosis, as well as cardiac arrhythmias, inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), depression, anxiety and sleep issues.