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Symptoms Lasted For One In 20 Australian Covid-19 Cases

Five percent of people diagnosed with Covid-19 during New South Wales’s “first wave” were still experiencing symptoms for months.

SYDNEY — One in 20 Australian people who contracted Covid-19 during New South Wale’s “first wave” was still experiencing symptoms three months later, a study of almost 3000 people have found.

The largest study of Covid-19 recovery time ever undertaken in Australia found four in five patients recovered within a month, 1.8 percent died and 4.8 percent were still experiencing symptoms after three months.

The most commonly reported residual symptoms were cough and fatigue, the study found. Older people, women, and those with co-morbidities had slower recovery times.

The study was published on June 25 in the Lancet Regional Health — Western Pacific.
The study’s lead author, University of New South Wales associate professor Bette Liu, said there was a good understanding of acute clinical presentations when patients were hospitalized for Covid-19 but less knowledge of those with milder symptoms.

The University of New South Wales is a public research university based in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is one of the founding members of Group of Eight, a coalition of Australian research-intensive universities.

One in 20 people who contracted Covid-19 during New South Wales’s “first wave” were still experiencing symptoms three months later. (Fusion Medical Animation/Unsplash)

“Our data demonstrate the substantial direct impact of Covid-19 on population health and the need to consider not only hospitalizations and deaths but also the longer-term health of those with less severe forms of the disease,” Liu said in a statement.

Liu said the study showed prolonged recovery from the virus would be a “significant problem” for many of the more than 30,000 confirmed cases in Australia to date.

Although younger people recovered more quickly, Liu said two percent of people aged under 30 still had symptoms after three months.

The study interviewed and tracked 94 percent of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in New South Wales between January and May 2020. Researchers said this access made their estimates more reliable than previous smaller studies which had been restricted to volunteers or those hospitalized with the virus.

“This study demonstrates how important it is that we all protect ourselves from Covid-19 through following public health advice, including hand hygiene, physical distancing, and testing, as well as getting vaccinated when it is your turn,” Liu said.

The results of an Australia-first study of COVID-19 recovery times has been released.
The results of an Australia-first study of Covid-19 recovery times has been released. (AAP Image)

The Lancet began as an independent, international weekly general medical journal founded in 1823 by Thomas Wakley. Since its first issue (Oct 5, 1823), the journal has strived to make science widely available so that medicine can serve, and transform society, and positively impact the lives of people.

The Lancet has evolved as a family of journals (across Child & Adolescent Health, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Digital Health, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Global Health) but retains at its core the belief that medicine must serve society, that knowledge must transform society, that the best science must lead to better lives.

(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Ritaban Misra)

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