Published on

As long as 2 years after recovering from COVID-19, some patients who were healthy before becoming infected now experience blood clots, diabetes, neurological complications, fatigue, and mental health issues thought to be related to the virus. The authors of research published in the journal Nature measured disability adjusted life years (DALY) in patients who had recovered from COVID-19 or developed long COVID, with each DALY unit reflecting 1 year of healthy life lost due to illness. They found that long COVID, specifically, accounted for more than 80 DALYs—to the extent that they estimate it produces a higher burden of disability than heart disease (which results in 52 DALYs for every 1,000 Americans) or cancer (50 DALYs). One confounding factor to note is that none of the patients whose care was reflected in the Nature paper had been vaccinated, as COVID vaccinations were not available at the time of their infection.

Years After Infection, Patients Are Grappling with New COVID-Related Disability. Be Vigilant