Those With Mild Disease Still Experience Long COVID-19

The severity and number of symptoms varied widely between individuals.

A recent study conducted by investigators from the University of Arizona has discovered that individuals who have a mild to moderate disease severity still experience long COVID with persistent symptoms more than 30 days after they test positive.

Results from the study were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

“We showed that an estimated 67% of people with mild or moderate COVID have long COVID, in other words they still have symptoms more than 30 days after their positive test,” Melanie Bell, lead investigator on the study said. “This is a real wake-up call for anyone who has not been vaccinated. If you get COVID, the chances that you’ll experience long-term symptoms are surprisingly high.”

For the study, the team of investigators analyzed data from participants at intervals of 3 months. The data used was gathered from the Arizona CoVHORT study, which followed state residents who had COVID-19 or who did not have an infection through an online survey from May of 2020.

The survey was self-reported and included infection status, symptoms and any positive tests.

Findings from the study showed that 68.7% of participants who tested positive had at least 1 persistent symptom after 30 days. After 60 days of follow up, this number increased to 77%. The most commonly reported symptoms were fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, stress, anxiety and altered taste and smell.

Additionally, the study found that the individuals who experienced long COVID were more likely to be less educated, have seasonal allergies and pre-existing health conditions.

“I study reproductive health, and the data from the CoVHORT longitudinal study is already providing new insights,” Leslie V. Farland, assistant professor in the Zuckerman College of Public Health said. “We have unique partnerships with many local health departments to support this research study, and many of our students are working on it, so they gain the real-world experience of public health research in action. Five of our doctoral students are working on dissertations that come out of the CoVHORT study data. It’s valuable in so many ways.”