New conditions common 1 to 5 months after positive COVID test

Feb. 9, 2022

A cohort study of Americans tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection shows that new-onset shortness of breath, heart rhythm abnormalities, and type 2 diabetes were more common 31 to 150 days after testing positive for COVID-19 than among those with negative results, according to a news report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

A team led by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers examined new signs and symptoms among 144,768 non-hospitalized and 23,933 hospitalized people 20 years and older with a positive COVID-19 test, and 1,227,510 non-hospitalized people with a negative test. Among the 338,024 people younger than 20 years, 25,327 non-hospitalized and 1,338 hospitalized people tested positive, and 260,660 non-hospitalized and 50,699 hospitalized patients had a negative test result.

Of people aged 20 years and older with a positive COVID-19 test, shortness of breath (4.5% non-hospitalized, 10.5% hospitalized, 16.6% ventilated), fatigue (4.2% non-hospitalized, 8.0% hospitalized, 19.8% ventilated), and sleep disorders (3.2% non-hospitalized, 5.6% hospitalized, 10.4% ventilated) were the most common new conditions.

Among the under-20 group with a positive test, change in bowel habits (2.3% non-hospitalized, 6.0% hospitalized), fatigue (1.7% non-hospitalized, 3.5% hospitalized), and shortness of breath (1.8% non-hospitalized, 3.9% hospitalized) were the most common diagnoses.

Hospitalized patients with a positive test result were more likely to report shortness of breath than those who tested negative. Shortness of breath was also more common among outpatients 20 years or older with a positive COVID-19 test than among those with a negative result.

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