A year later, 45% of COVID patients in Wuhan still have symptoms

Enlarge / Medical staff transfer patients to Jin Yintan hospital on January 17, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei, China. (credit: Getty )

Among thousands of the earliest survivors of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, nearly half had at least one persistent symptom a full year after being released from the hospital, according to a new study published in JAMA Network Open.

The study followed up with 2,433 adult patients who had been hospitalized in one of two hospitals in Wuhan early on in the pandemic. Most had nonsevere cases, but a small number had severe COVID-19 and required intensive care. All of the patients were discharged between February 12 and April 10, 2020, and the study follow-up took place in March of 2021.

Overall, 45 percent of the patients reported at least one symptom in that one-year follow-up. The most common symptoms were fatigue, sweating, chest tightness, anxiety, and myalgia (muscle pain). Having a severe case of COVID-19 increased the likelihood of long-lingering symptoms; 54 percent of the 680 severe cases reported at least one symptom after a year. But persistent symptoms were also common among the nonsevere cases, with 41.5 percent of 1,752 nonsevere cases reporting at least one symptom a year later.

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