One-third of participants in a California study said they experienced at least one longer-term COVID-19 symptom two months after testing positive, according to a study published Thursday, as researchers zero in on the mystery of "long" COVID-19.
The research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that 35 percent of a random sample of Long Beach, Calif., residents reported experiencing at least one symptom two months after their test.
Women, those aged 40 to 54 and people with preexisting conditions were “significantly” more likely to report enduring coronavirus symptoms. Black residents had a higher chance of reporting difficulty breathing and muscle or joint pain than other racial or ethnic groups.
Women, those with preexisting conditions, those aged 40 and older and Black residents also reported more symptoms two months after their COVID-19 test.
The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services surveyed 366 adults at least two months after their positive tests between April 1, 2020, and Dec. 10, with fatigue, difficulty breathing or sense of smell distortions being the most prevalent lingering symptoms reported.
A total of 46 percent of the participants said they had a chronic preexisting condition before testing positive for the coronavirus. Nineteen, or 5 percent, of the respondents had been hospitalized for the virus.
The CDC acknowledged the “limited sample size” as a limitation in the study and called for more research into which demographics are more likely to endure long COVID-19 to ensure equitable access.
“As the number of recovered COVID-19 patients increases, monitoring the prevalence of post-acute sequelae among larger cohorts in diverse populations is important because it can help develop efforts to prioritize prevention and treatment strategies for these populations,” the CDC said in its report.
Scientists are digging further into understanding long-term effects after COVID-19 infection as cases and narratives of ongoing symptoms weeks and months after contracting the virus have emerged.
The CDC noted that previous estimates of the long COVID-19 prevalence range from 5 percent among non-hospitalized people to 80 percent among hospitalized patients.
The National Institutes of Health announced on Wednesday that it is pouring almost $470 million into building a national study population of tens of thousands of people to research long COVID-19.