Two thirds of COVID survivors report persistent symptoms 4 weeks later
A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study shows that 65.9% of a sample of US adults who tested positive for COVID-19 reported at least one lingering symptom more than a month later.
The study, published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), involved online nonprobability sampling of 3,135 community-dwelling adults who had been tested for COVID-19 since Jan 2020. Of the participants, 698 reported a diagnosis of COVID-19, while 2,437 said they tested negative. The sampling took place from Apr 9 to 23, 2021.
Among respondents who tested positive, 86.5% reported initial symptoms, compared with 61.7% of those who tested negative.
Relative to participants who tested negative for COVID-19, those who tested positive reported a significantly higher prevalence of any persistent symptom (65.9% vs 42.9%), fatigue (22.5% vs 12.0%), loss of smell or taste (17.3% vs 1.7%), shortness of breath (15.5% vs 5.2%), cough (14.5% vs 4.9%), and headache (13.8% vs 9.9%).
A larger proportion of coronavirus-positive respondents indicated that they believed that their long-term symptoms improved after they received a COVID-19 vaccine (28.7%) than negative respondents did (15.7%).
The weighted prevalence of a positive COVID-19 test result was 22.2%. Compared with participants who tested negative for COVID-19, infected respondents were younger (39.3 vs 45.3 years), were more likely to be employed (70.5% vs 61.6%), had higher household incomes (50.8% vs 43.9% made at least $60,000), and were more likely to live in an urban area (43.8% vs 37.6%).
The researchers said the findings can inform public health preparedness efforts, guide resource allocation for the care of patients with long COVID-19, and support communication efforts about experiences with vaccination.
“The findings can also aid efforts to address post-COVID conditions, including helping health care professionals recognize the most common symptoms and optimize care for patients whose symptoms persist,” the authors concluded.
Sep 10 MMWR study
Adolescent eating disorders increased in pandemic, study says
Hospital admissions related to eating disorders (EDs) increased 123% among 10- to 23-year-olds during the pandemic at Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, according to a study today in Pediatrics.
The researchers compared the number of ED-related admissions during the first 12 months of the pandemic (Apr 1, 2020, to Mar 31, 2021) with the same months from 2017 onward. Despite lower admissions in April 2020—which the researchers say could be due to the start of the state’s lockdown—the pandemic period still had 125 admissions, compared with an average of 56 in the past 3 years.
Patient demographics remained similar before and after the pandemic began. Most were girls (88.4% pre-pandemic vs 90.2%), White (84.9% pre-pandemic before vs 90.2%), and about 15 years old (average, 15.1 pre-pandemic vs 15.2). The only significant change during the pandemic was a decrease in the proportion of publicly insured patients (8.8% vs 19.9%).
“Psychologically, adolescents with low self-esteem or depressive symptoms are more likely to develop EDs, and many describe worsening of these factors during the pandemic,” the researchers write, adding that disruptions to day-to-day lives and relationships may have also exacerbated behaviors. While they note that some patients may have been more likely to be admitted because they were spending more time with their parents, they also say that COVID-related disruptions may have decreased access to ED care.
They conclude, “Our findings suggest those who care for adolescents with EDs in the inpatient setting and beyond should be prepared to address challenges posed by increasing numbers of severely ill ED patients.”
Only restrictive EDs (eg, anorexia nervosa) were included in the study. Patients admitted solely for psychiatric reasons, those who had weight loss without ED diagnosis, or those with nonrestrictive EDs or bulimia nervosa were excluded.
Sep 10 Pediatrics study