The researchers suggested that long-standing COVID patients with a mild bout of the virus should expect their symptoms to improve within a year.
People whose effects continue after the illness are concerned that the persistent symptoms will not go away.
But academics suggest that “mild illness does not lead to serious or chronic long-term morbidity.”
The team of Israeli researchers compared data on people who were not infected. COVID-19 people suffering from a mild form of the virus, that is, suffering from symptoms but did not require hospital care.
They also examined information on symptoms that persist after infection in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
The research looked at the information of nearly two million people, all of whom had been tested for COVID-19 between March 2020 and October 2021.
Data on approximately 300,000 people with a confirmed mild case of COVID were compared to the same number of people who did not have the disease.
The research team also examined information on a range of long-term symptoms of COVID, including loss of taste and smell, also known as brain fog, problems with breathing, problems with concentration and memory.
They discovered that long COVID symptoms “remain for a few months” but almost always resolve within a year.
“Permanent” respiratory problems were also found to be more common in people who did not have the COVID vaccine, compared to those who did.
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“While the long-standing COVID phenomenon has been feared and discussed since the onset of the pandemic, we observed that most of the health outcomes that occur after a mild course of illness remain within a few months and return to normal within the first year,” academics told The BMJ. .
“This nationwide dataset of mild COVID-19 patients demonstrates that mild illness does not result in serious or chronic long-term morbidity and consistently places a small burden on healthcare providers.
“Importantly, the risk of persistent dyspnea in vaccinated patients with immediate infection was reduced compared to unvaccinated people, while the risks of all other outcomes were similar.”
People ages 41 to 60 had the greatest number of long-term symptoms for at least six months compared to other age groups, the researchers said.
Different strains of coronavirus were found to have no effect on the long duration of COVID.
According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), an estimated 2.1 million people in the UK were experiencing self-reported prolonged COVID at the beginning of December last year.
Long COVID is defined as symptoms that persist for more than four weeks after infection.