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Six months postinfection, young otherwise healthy adults with mild COVID-19 still had excess risk for disruptive dyspnea and cognitive dysfunction.
Although long-term sequelae after moderate to severe COVID-19 are well documented, lingering effects in patients with mild COVID-19 have not been as thoroughly investigated. Blomberg et al. conducted a prospective long-term study of 312 COVID-19 patients from Bergen, Norway (median age, 46; 247 managed with in-home isolation and 65 hospitalized, together representing 82% of cases in that city’s first wave). The most common comorbidities were asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (12%), hypertension (11%), heart disease (7%), rheumatic disease (6%), and diabetes mellitus (4%).
At 6 months postinfection, 61% of patients had persistent symptoms, most commonly fatigue (37%), problems with concentration (26%), smell or taste disturbances (25%), memory difficulties (24%), and dyspnea (21%). Enduring symptoms were associated with greater illness severity, higher SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers, female gender, and preexisting lung disease. Among teens and young adults (age range, 16–30) not requiring hospitalization, 52% reported ongoing symptoms at 6 months, including smell or taste derangement (28%), fatigue (21%), dyspnea (13%), impaired concentration (13%), and memory deficits (11%). Persistent symptoms were rarely observed in those aged.
While the metrics of hospitalization and mortality have been used to gauge the benefit of COVID-19 vaccination — thereby justifying the targeting of older patients and those at risk for more-severe disease — this study suggests that much more is at stake to prevent or mitigate COVID-19 in younger, healthier patients through vaccination. Such patients, many of whom are in school or are primary wage earners, may suffer consequences of illness with lasting lifestyle implications on productivity and advancement. In allowing more-informed calculation of the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccines, these data should help counterbalance the negative publicity associated with such vaccines in younger individuals.
Créditos: Comité científico Covid