New study sheds light on how many people could have long COVID

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We now have a better scope of how many people are living with symptoms of COVID-19 long after testing positive.

A large-scale study of Scottish COVID-19 patients found that six to 18 months after an infection resulting in symptoms, nearly half of subjects recovered partially or not at all. Doctors consider those people to have long COVID, also known as post-COVID.

Common symptoms of long COVID include tiredness or fatigue, fever, headache and trouble sleeping.

The study included the experiences of nearly 100,000 people and also showed that the vaccine offers protection against long-term symptoms.

“It speaks to what some of the trends we are seeing here in America,” said Dr. Jackson Maddux, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist with Allina Health.

Maddux specializes in spine care and works at Allina’s Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. He said rehab work there has helped people overcome long COVID symptoms.

“In terms of the treatment options, because many of the of the symptoms are related to fatigue and muscle ache, physical therapy is often an excellent resource for patients experiencing long COVID,” Maddux said.

“It does come down to similar techniques that one would use if a patient were recovering from chemotherapy or some other serious illness,” he added.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, as many as 23 million Americans have long COVID. The agency also reports a million people could be out of work because of the long-term symptoms as well.