People with long COVID, those with other illnesses experiencing similar lingering effects

UCLA

People who have long COVID-19 can experience many of the same lingering negative effects on their physical, mental and social well-being as those experienced by people who become ill with other, non-COVID illnesses, new research suggests.

The findings, which were published in JAMA Network Open, are based on a comparison of people known to have been infected with COVID-19 with individuals with similar symptoms who tested negative for COVID. The researchers found that 40% of the COVID-positive and 54% of the COVID-negative group reported moderate to severe residual symptoms three months after enrolling in the study.

“Many diseases, including COVID, can lead to symptoms negatively impacting one’s sense of well-being lasting months after initial infection, which is what we saw here,” said lead author Lauren Wisk, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

“Because these changes look similar for COVID-negative and COVID-positive participants, this suggests the experience of the pandemic itself, and related stress, may be playing a role in slowing people’s recovery from any illness.”

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