Deaths Months After Coronavirus Point to Pandemic’s Grim Aftermath

COVID-19’s deadly effects manifest long after some patients leave the hospital, according to a new study that points to the pandemic’s grave aftermath.

Hospitalized patients who survived at least a week after being discharged were more than twice as likely to die or be admitted again within months, scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Oxford found. The COVID survivors also had an almost five times greater risk of dying in the following 10 months than a sample taken from the general population.

The findings, published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine, add to evidence that the pandemic’s effects on health and wellbeing extend well beyond an initial infection. A Dutch study on Monday showed that three-quarters of COVID patients treated in intensive care were still suffering fatigue, impaired fitness and other physical symptoms a year later, and one in four reported anxiety and other mental symptoms.

“COVID-19 isn’t just an acute respiratory viral illness — like a cold or some other inconsequential infection — that goes away in a few days or a few weeks,” said Ziyad Al-Aly, director of the clinical epidemiology center at the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System in Missouri, who has led similar studies in the U.S. “It carries serious long-term consequences, including higher risk of death.”

To help clarify the long-term health risks for survivors, epidemiologist Krishnan Bhaskaran and colleagues focused on those who had been hospitalized for the disease. The researchers conducted a statistical analysis of electronic health records from almost 25,000 patients who had been hospitalized for COVID in 2020, and more than 100,000 members of the general population for comparison. To account for risks after hospitalization for an infectious disease, the scientists also compared data from more than 15,000 people who were hospitalized for influenza from 2017 to 2019.

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Source: Arcamax