Coronavirus symptoms can linger for at least 6 months, new Chinese study finds

Most patients who had been hospitalized with coronavirus still suffered a variety of symptoms — including fatigue and sleep difficulties — six months after infection, a Chinese study has found.

The study of more than 1,700 patients treated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the pandemic, shows 76 percent suffered at least one symptom months after they were discharged from hospital.

The study, the largest of its kind yet carried out, published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet. It found that fatigue and sleep difficulties were the most common post-COVID-19 symptoms, occurring in 63 percent and 26 percent of the patients, respectively, six months after the onset of their initial diagnosis.

The disease could also have long-lasting psychological complications, with anxiety or depression reported among 23 percent of the patients, the study found.

Patients who were more severely ill tended to have continued evidence of lung damage on X-rays, according to the researchers.

A study published in the British Medical Journal in August found that around 10 percent of patients had a prolonged illness from COVID-19 lasting more than 12 weeks.

But the Chinese study is the largest, with the longest follow-up duration, to investigate the long-term impact on discharged patients, according to its authors.

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