Study shows increased risk of death for long COVID-19 patients within 12 months

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Survivors of severe novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are twice as likely to die within 12 months of their diagnosis than those with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms and the uninfected, according to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine.

Arch Mainous, professor at the University of Florida, was the lead author of the study, which tracked electronic health records of 13,638 patients who received PCR tests from the university’s health system. Of the observed patients, 178 people experienced severe COVID-19, 246 had mild or moderate COVID-19, and the rest tested negative. Each of the patients who tested positive recovered from the illness. Researchers followed up on patients’ risk of mortality after 12 months of their diagnosis.

The study’s results suggested an increased risk of death for those under 65 compared to patients older than 65. Within a year of their diagnosis, compared with the uninfected, patients under 65-years-old with severe cases of COVID-19 were 233 percent more likely to die. Only 20 percent of long COVID-19 patient deaths were due to traditional COVID-19 complications such as respiratory failure or coagulation disorders. The other 80 percent were not directly attributed to COVID-19 complications. Patients who had mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 and the uninfected had similar risks of mortality.

According to researchers, the study’s results suggest an increased likelihood of an individual’s overall health declining after experiencing severe COVID-19. This is when compared to those who had moderate to mild symptoms of the virus or weren’t infected at all. Researchers concluded that these results demonstrate the life-threatening long-term effects of the virus and highlight the importance of preventative measures such as the COVID-19 vaccines.