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Long Covid patients face same health issues as those with other illnesses

Long Covid patients experience several of the same lingering negative effects on their physical, mental, and social well-being as those experienced by people who become ill with other, non-Covid illnesses, new research has revealed.

The researchers found that 40 per cent of the Covid-positive and 54 per cent of the Covid-negative group reported moderate-to-severe residual symptoms three months after enrolling in the study.

"Many diseases, including Covid, can lead to symptoms negatively impacting one's sense of well-being lasting months after initial infection, which is what we saw here", said lead author Lauren Wisk, assistant professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California-Los Angeles.

Since these changes look similar for Covid negative and Covid positive participants, "this suggests the experience of the pandemic itself, and related stress, may be playing a role in slowing peoples' recovery from any illness", Wisk said in the study published in the peer-reviewed JAMA Network Open.

The study included people both with acute Covid and without Covid (but sick with some other illness).

The 1,000 participants were 18 years of age or older who, with either positive or negative test results and no prior Covid diagnosis, had symptoms known to be associated with Covid, such as cough, fever, headache or fatigue, at the time of testing.

Of these participants, 722 were positive for Covid and 278 tested negative.

"We found that, as far as well-being is concerned, Covid-positive and Covid-negative groups look more similar than different, but both still have worse well-being scores than the general population," the researchers noted.

The Covid-positive group, however, experienced better improvements in their social well-being than did the Covid-negative group.

The findings highlight the importance of comparing Covid-positive and Covid-negative people to assess the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on the population.

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