New metric shows COVID-19 reduced lifespan significantly
COVID-19 reduced lifespan by up to 9 years in parts of the United States, per a new “mean unfulfilled lifespan” (MUL) metric, according to a study published yesterday in PLOS One.
The MUL is a new indicator of the impact of mortality shocks, such as the novel coronavirus or other natural disaster, on peoples’ lifespan.
In contrast to period life expectancy at birth (PLEB), the MUL is the difference between the average age at death for those who died in a given timeframe, and the average age these individuals would have been expected to reach, if there had not been a temporary shock to mortality rates, according to a Public Library of Science news release emailed to journalists.
Using the metric, the authors determined that the MUL for COVID-19 peaked during 7-day rolling average in 2020 at 6.43 years in Lombardy, Italy; at 8.91 years in New Jersey; and at 6.24 years in Mexico City.
“Mortality conditions are always changing, but when these changes are relatively steady, changes in PLEB remain interpretable as changes in individual longevity,” the authors wrote. “When declines in PLEB are induced by a relatively rapid and likely temporary increase in mortality, such as currently experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic, however, they become hardly interpretable as indicators of changes in the individual lifespan.”
The MUL, the authors said, will be a useful tool for COVID-19 and other pandemics in the future.
Jul 27 PLOS One study
Study: 40% still had COVID symptoms 1 to 6 months after hospital release
Forty percent of 290 COVID-19 survivors completing an Emory University survey 1 to 6 months after release from the hospital reported lingering symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath on exertion, and “mental fog.”
The study, published yesterday in Open Forum Infectious Diseases, involved an emailed survey about persistent COVID-19 symptoms, acute illness severity, and quality of life to better quantify and characterize “long COVID.”
Of the 209 patients, 39.7% said they still had symptoms, including fatigue (20.3%), shortness of breath on exertion (14.1%), mental fog (13.5%), and loss of smell (11.9%).
Common symptoms tied to reports of worse physical health included weakness, fatigue, muscle pain, depression, and mental fog. For those reporting that emotional issues were limiting their daily activities, the most common symptoms were irritability, depression, back pain, anxiety, and ear fullness.
Proportion of patients with lingering symptoms wasn’t associated with time since acute illness (fewer than 90 days, 37.2% vs more than 90 days, 40.4%). Predictors of long-term symptoms included provider-reported moderate or severe illness (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 3.24), female sex (aOR, 1.99), greater length of time since acute illness (aOR, 2.24), and middle age (aOR, 2.08). More than half of respondents said they had sought or planned to seek medical attention for their symptoms.
“Symptoms following acute COVID-19 are common and may be predicted by factors during the acute phase of illness,” the study authors wrote. “Fatigue and neuropsychiatric symptoms figured prominently. Select symptoms seem to be particularly associated with perceptions of physical health following COVID-19 and warrant specific attention on future studies.”
The researchers called for future research into the risk factors, mechanisms, duration, and subtypes of long COVID.
Jul 27 Open Forum Infect Dis study