What is long-COVID?

Many people continue to experience long-term effects after their initial infection or develop new symptoms weeks after they have tested positive. This is what is known as long COVID.

The symptoms of long-COVID are varied and can affect many different parts of the body. These long-term symptoms can last for a few weeks to many months after the initial infection. According to The National Institutes of Health, long-COVID, or post acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), is defined as new or continuing symptoms of COVID-19 occurring 28 days (4 weeks) or longer after a person's initial infection.

What We've Learned

As reports of long term symptoms began to increase in the news and on social media sites, we decided examine data we have collected to examine how many of our participants have developed long COVID following their initial infection and what symptoms they were experiencing. We published our results in PLOS One where it is accessible at no cost.

How many people develop long COVID?

Among the 303 participants who were not hospitalized for their initial infection that were used for this analysis, more than two thirds of them continued to experience symptoms for 30 days or longer.

PLoS ONE Long-COVID article

Long-COVID in The Arizona CoVHORT

We examined the clinical presentation and duration of illness of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), or long-COVID.

Most Common Symptoms Among our Participants

Participants who reported testing positive for COVID-19 were able to indicate whether they experienced any of 25 symptoms we ask about during follow-up as well as write in any additional symptoms they experienced that were not included on our list. The median number of symptoms experienced among the 68.7% of participants who developed long COVID was 3, with some participants reporting less symptoms and some reporting more.

What We're Researching

We are continuing to monitor symptoms among participants who have tested positive for COVID-19 to examine how many people go on to develop long COVID and what the most common symptoms are. However, there are still other important questions regarding long COVID that we are also trying to answer, including:

  • What are the major risk factors for developing long COVID?

  • How long do the symptoms of long COVID last?

  • Does the infection put people at greater risk of developing other chronic health conditions?

  • Does the infection impact the symptoms and management of other chronic health conditions?

As we learn more about long COVID and try to answer these questions, among others, we'll update the information on this page.

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