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“New Federal Study Suggests COVID-19 Patients Four Times More Likely to Develop Chronic Fatigue”

COVID-19 patients are at a significantly higher risk of developing chronic fatigue compared to individuals who have not contracted the virus, according to a new federal study conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study, which analyzed electronic health records from the University of Washington, examined over 4,500 COVID-19 patients between February 2020 and February 2021, comparing their health data with that of over 9,000 non-COVID-19 patients with similar characteristics.

The findings revealed that fatigue developed in 9% of COVID-19 patients, with a rate of new cases of fatigue at 10.2 per 100 person-years and a rate of new cases of chronic fatigue at 1.8 per 100 person-years. In comparison to non-COVID-19 patients, those who tested positive for the virus were 68% more likely to experience fatigue and 4.3 times more likely to develop chronic fatigue during the follow-up period.

The study also identified certain demographic and medical factors that increased the likelihood of developing fatigue after a COVID-19 infection. Fatigue was more common among women, older individuals, and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and mood disorders. However, there was no significant evidence of racial or ethnic differences, except for a slightly lower incidence among Black patients.

Furthermore, the researchers discovered that COVID-19 patients who developed fatigue after the infection had worse outcomes, including higher rates of hospitalization and death, compared to patients without fatigue. Among the COVID-19 patients with fatigue, 25.6% were hospitalized multiple times during the follow-up period, while only 13.6% of patients without fatigue required hospitalization. Additionally, the risk of death was higher among COVID-19 patients with fatigue, with 5.3% of them succumbing to the virus compared to 2.3% of those without fatigue.

The authors of the study emphasized the need for increased awareness of the long-term effects of COVID-19, particularly fatigue, and the importance of early care-seeking behavior among COVID-19 patients. They also highlighted the necessity for public health actions to prevent infections, provide clinical care, and develop effective treatments for post-acute COVID-19 fatigue.

These findings build upon previous reports that have highlighted the prevalence of fatigue among COVID-19 patients. A joint U.S.-U.K. study of electronic health records found that 12.8% of patients received a new fatigue diagnosis within six months of COVID-19 infection.

In conclusion, this federal study conducted by the CDC provides valuable insights into the long-term effects of COVID-19, specifically the increased risk of developing chronic fatigue among patients. The findings underscore the importance of ongoing research to better understand the association between fatigue and clinical outcomes, as well as the need for public health interventions to prevent infections and provide appropriate care for those experiencing post-acute COVID-19 fatigue.

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