According to a new Israeli study, one in three adults who suffer from long COVID are unable to return to health levels before the infection, even after months.
One of the four health funds in Israel is Maccabi Healthcare Services and its researchers conducted the peer-reviewed study.
The results showed that 34.6% of the people reported that they were not able to return to their baseline health condition.
The survey in question comprised of 699 participants and was conducted after recovery between one and six months.
The average of the participants was about five months after recovery. Dr. Tal Palaton, the head of research and innovation at Maccabi, led the study.
It highlighted the existence and continuity of symptoms, such as muscle pain and memory disturbances and also warned of the consequences of long COVID for public health.
It said that a significant impact of long COVID should be expected on the health of the public by policymakers.
According to research, the symptoms were a great deal more common amongst those who had felt that they had COVID, as opposed to those who had been asymptomatic.
Moreover, they were also found to be more prevalent amongst women than men who had caught the coronavirus, along with people who smoke, or are overweight.
However, it should be noted that the survey had been conducted by Maccabi back in September last year, which puts it two months before the Omicron wave had hit Israel.
Therefore, the results of the study do not reflect the differences that could exist in the patterns of long COVID after recovery from the Omicron strain, as compared to the others.
In addition, the sample size used in the study may be large, but it was just 7.5% of the people who had been asked to participate in the survey.
Therefore, the authors of the study accepted that there could be ‘selection bias’, which means that since the survey was voluntary, those who had experienced symptoms may have responded more than others.
Regardless, the study only adds to the body of literature that exists on long COVID, which includes its incidence, along with its impact on wellbeing.
This had been obtained through another Israeli health study that had been conducted in the previous month.
Hebrew University’s Ronit Calderon-Margalit had not been involved in the study, but the epidemiologist said that even though it had its limitations, the study made some valuable contributions on the topic.
She said that healthcare personnel and clinicians encounter long COVID on a frequent basis, but it has not been characterized properly as yet where prevalence, incidence, symptoms and prognosis is concerned.
She also added that this syndrome may also increase the burden on community healthcare and there is not much information available about how it should be treated, the follow-up required, or its long-term consequences.
She stated that high quality studies were required on the topic to obtain the answers. The current study’s control group comprised of 1,398 people.
This showed that some of the health complaints are more common amongst those who have recovered from COVID.