Stock illustration representing Covid-19

While debate continues about what, exactly, “long Covid” means, new research from the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that about one-third of all people treated for coronavirus develop what is now known as Post-Acute Sequelae of Covid-19, or PASC.

“Long Covid” is the term generally used to describe Covid-19 symptoms that linger for 60 days or longer after infection or hospitalization. UCLA researchers studied 1,038 Covid-19 patients, tracking their progress between April 2020 and February 2021. Of those, 309 patients (29.8 percent) responded to a UCLA questionnaire that they had developed long Covid, with symptoms continuing past 60 or 90 days. The most persistent symptoms were fatigue (30 percent) and shortness of breath (15 percent) in patients who had been hospitalized and loss of smell (16 percent) in outpatients.

People with a history of hospitalization, diabetes, and/or a higher body mass index (BMI) were most likely to develop long Covid, according to the researchers. Additionally, those patients who were covered by Medicaid (vs. commercial health insurance) or who had undergone an organ transplant were less likely to develop long Covid. Ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status were not found to be associated with PASC, even though those factors have been linked to greater risk of death from Covid-19.

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