The World Health Organization on Thursday said COVID-19 deaths have exceeded the 2 million mark for countries in the WHO European Region.
At the same time, half of the COVID–19 patients discharged from a Chinese hospital in early 2020 still have at least one symptom two years later, a new study shows.
Overall, regardless of initial disease severity, the 2,469 COVID–19 survivors in the study had improvements in physical and mental health over time.
Nearly 90% of those who were employed returned to their jobs within two years.
But the survivors had a “remarkably” lower health status than the general population at two years, and their burden of symptoms from after-effects “remained fairly high,” the researchers reported this week in The Lancet Respiratory Diseases.
At two years, 55% still had at least one COVID–19 after-effect, according to the report. Fatigue or muscle weakness were the most frequently reported symptoms during the study.
Patients who had required mechanical ventilation for critical illness still had high rates of lung impairments at two years.
“Our findings indicate that for a certain proportion of hospitalized COVID–19 survivors, while they may have cleared the initial infection, more than two years is needed to recover fully from COVID–19,” the researchers said.