Long Covid symptoms persist for up to 18 months
One in 20 people are still feeling the effects of Covid-19 between six and 18 months after infection with coronavirus, a study shows.
The ongoing study, called Long-CISS (Covid in Scotland Study), found that almost six per cent of people who caught Covid-19 had not recovered, while 42 per cent reported feeling only partially better.
The survey did not capture details of each person’s partial recovery but experts suggest mild to moderate symptoms may not necessarily result in a long Covid diagnosis.
The study found that asymptomatic infection had no long-term impact on people’s health, and those who had been vaccinated prior to infection with Covid-19 appeared to have protection against some long-term symptoms.
Long-CISS was set up in May 2021 to understand the long-term impact of Covid-19, and compare it with the health and wellbeing of people who had not been infected.
Overall, the study found that long Covid symptoms were more likely following severe infections requiring hospitalisation. The most reported long Covid symptoms included breathlessness, chest pain, palpitations, and confusion, or ‘brain fog’.
Long Covid was more common among the elderly, women and those from deprived communities. People with pre-existing physical and mental health problems, such as respiratory disease and depression, were also more likely to experience long-Covid.
The Long-CISS study used data from 33,281 people with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections, matched with 62,957 never-infected individuals from the general population. Researchers followed-up with both groups via six, 12 and 18-month questionnaires, and accessed hospitalisation and death records.
The research was carried out by teams at Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow in collaboration with Public Health Scotland and NHS Scotland. It is funded by the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office.
This important study used routinely collected healthcare data and digital tools to enroll a large and representative group of people with and without Covid-19 from all parts of Scotland. It provides some of the most reliable estimates of the impact of Covid-19 on wellbeing from any country in the world.