Newly published research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that recovery from COVID-19 is a very long process for many sufferers, even younger ones.
In a new survey of coronavirus outpatients, the agency found 35% had not returned to what they would consider normal health within two to three weeks after testing. For otherwise healthy 18- to 35-year-olds in the survey group, one in five were still not feeling like their usual selves, despite interviews taking place up to 21 days after their test date.
The findings are notable in that the survey was conducted among outpatients with relatively mild cases. Researchers have known that COVID-19 sufferers who are hospitalized with severe forms of the disease can experience a longer duration of symptoms. The latest data, based on interviews with 292 people across 13 states, suggests that prolonged symptoms are not limited to severe cases.
“Characterizing return to baseline health among outpatients with milder COVID-19 illness is important for understanding the full spectrum of COVID-19–associated illness and tailoring public health messaging, interventions, and policy,” the CDC wrote.
The study will not come as a surprise to so-called COVID “long-haulers,” people who say they have been suffering with symptoms of the disease for weeks and sometimes months, often in a waxing-and-waning pattern.
Coronavirus support groups on social media have become increasingly vital for this subset of sufferers as they seek to connect with others and catalogue their daily struggles with the virus. “Survivor Corps,” an open group on Facebook, now has more than 82,000 members.
Some long-time sufferers also post detailed accounts of their symptoms and recovery time on Twitter, using the hashtag #LongCovid. In one recently viral thread, a user describes having just passed the “4 month mark” along with a litany of lingering symptoms that includes everything from loss of cognitive function to muscle aches and tremors.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; and diarrhea, according to the CDC, though that is only a partial list.
You can check out the new CDC research here.