Background: Many patients with COVID-19 do not require hospitalisation, let alone have undergone COVID-19 testing . There is anecdotal evidence that patients with “ mild ” COVID-19 may complain about persistent symptoms, even weeks after the infection . This suggests that symptoms during the infection may not resolve spontaneously . The objective of this study was to assess whether multiple relevant symptoms recover following the onset of symptoms in hospitalised and non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19 .
Methods: 2113 members of two Facebook groups for coronavirus patients with persistent complaints in The Netherlands and Belgium, and from a panel of people who registered at a website of the Lung Foundation Netherlands, were assessed for demographics, pre-existing comorbidities, health status, date of symptoms onset, COVID-19 diagnosis, healthcare utilisation, and the presence of 29 symptoms at the time of the onset of symptoms (retrospectively) and at follow-up (79±17 days after symptoms onset).
Results: 112 hospitalised patients and 2001 non-hospitalised patients (confirmed COVID-19, n=345; symptom-based COVID-19, n=882; and suspected COVID-19, n=774) were analysed . The median number of symptoms during the infection reduced significantly over time (14 (11–17) versus6 (4–9), p <0.001). Fatigue and dyspnoea were the most prevalent symptoms during the infection and at follow-up (fatigue : 95% versus 87% ; dyspnoea : 90% versus 71 %). Conclusion: In previously hospitalised and non-hospitalised patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, multiple symptoms are present about 3 months after symptoms onset . This suggests the presence of a “ post-COVID-19 syndrome ” and highlights the unmet healthcare needs in a subgroup of patients with “ mild ” or “ severe ” COVID-19.