Another COVID Controversary


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In one of the first large studies to quantify the long-term harms of long COVID, the results are not encouraging. Researchers used the Veterans Administration database to compare 150,000 veterans who had COVID with 6 million veterans who did not. The results were striking.  The group who had COVID had significantly higher rates of diabetes, heart failure, and fatigue; some appearing years after infection.   

There was an elevated risk of heart disease and mental health issues for a year after infection.  And this risk of other diseases was fifty percent higher than even those with cancer or heart disease.  At three months after infection, those with COVID showed a higher rate of death and hospitalization as well as the incidence of Alzheimer’s, depression and heart failure.  Diabetes incidence was elevated by thirteen percent. 

Overall, about one-third of the health problems remained elevated up to two years later.  It was two-thirds for people hospitalized with COVID.  However, veterans are a hard group to compare to the general population.  They were largely male and white, were on average over 60, and already suffered from multiple health issues.  They’re five times more likely to use tobacco.  But it shows that people with health challenges may be more prone to the long COVID. And a lot more work is needed to find therapies to improve their health.   

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More Information

COVID-19 boosts risks of health problems 2 years later, giant study of veterans says
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