1 in 5 asymptomatic COVID patients will eventually suffer long-haul symptom, study suggests

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The report indicated that just under 19% of all asymptomatic COVID-19 patients began to exhibit “persistent or new symptoms” 30 days or more after their initial positive diagnosis. (Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – Nearly 20 percent of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients will eventually present “at least one” common condition associated with long-haul COVID-19, according to the results of a study published this week.

Those conditions included pain, breathing difficulties and hyperlipidemia (high levels or lipids, or fats, in the blood), among other symptoms reported by long-haulers.

The report, published Tuesday, was conducted by FAIR Health, a non-profit organization than manages data for the country’s largest database of health-care claims. Claims from a total of 1,959,982 COVID patients, between Feb. 2020 and Feb. 2021, were used to determine the results, according to FAIR Health.

Of the major findings, FAIR Health’s report indicated that just under 19 percent of all asymptomatic COVID-19 patients — a “substantial share” — began to exhibit “persistent or new symptoms” 30 days or more after their initial positive diagnosis. Post-COVID conditions, meanwhile, affected approximately 27.5 percent of symptomatic patients who did not require hospitalization, and nearly 50 percent of symptomatic patients who did, according to FAIR Health.

“Even as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, long-haul COVID persists as a public health issue affecting many Americans,” stated FAIR Health president Robin Gelburd in a press release. “The findings in our new study shed significant light on this emerging issue for all individuals who have long-haul COVID, as well as for policy makers, providers, payors and researchers.”

Among the most common long-haul symptoms experienced after 30 days of diagnosis (and not any time before) were pain (including head and muscle pain), breathing issues, hyperlipidemia, fatigue and malaise, and hypertension. Slightly less common conditions, but also reported among asymptomatic patients after 30 days, included anxiety, intestinal issues and skin issues, among others.

In most cases, females were also more likely to be associated with one of the long-haul conditions “by 5 percent or more,” according to the study’s white sheet. Males were more commonly associated with only 12 of the 38 conditions observed.

Additional details from FAIR Health’s study can be found in Tuesday’s report.

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