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Nearly 25% of Patients in US Experience ‘Long COVID’ Symptoms, Study Finds

FILE - Visitors walk down Main Street USA at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic, April 30, 2021.

A new study in the United States reveals that nearly 25% of COVID-19 patients experienced new health problems well after their initial diagnosis.

The non-profit group FAIR Health analyzed the health insurance claims of nearly two million people between February 2020 and February of this year. The study found the most common new conditions among so-called “Long COVID” patients included pain, breathing difficulties, high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol and fatigue.

The new ailments affected patients of all ages, including children, and even included patients who were asymptomatic, or experienced no symptoms whatsoever. The study found 19% of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients came down with Long COVID symptoms, increasing to 27% who had mild or moderate symptoms but were not hospitalized, and 50% of those who were hospitalized.

Other ailments revealed in the study included intestinal symptoms, heart disorders and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday designated the Delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 “a variant of concern.”

Health experts say the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, is far more contagious and can cause more severe symptoms, including stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, hearing loss and joint pain. The variant has now spread to at least 74 countries, especially in Britain, where it has overtaken the homegrown Alpha variant.

A health worker in protective suit collects nasal swab sample of a traveler to test for COVID-19 outside a train station in Bengaluru, India, June 16, 2021.
A health worker in protective suit collects nasal swab sample of a traveler to test for COVID-19 outside a train station in Bengaluru, India, June 16, 2021.

The CDC says the Delta variant accounts for nearly 10% of all new cases in the United States as of June 5, and experts are concerned it could lead to a surge of new infections due to the slowing rate of COVID-19 vaccinations. A new study published this week in The Lancet medical journal says two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer is 79% effective against the Delta variant, compared to 60% effectiveness after both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The World Health Organization classified Delta as a variant of concern last month.

As the United States passed 600,000 COVID-19 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, two of its most populous states, New York and California, are celebrating significant milestones in the long fight against the pandemic.

Fireworks lit up the skies over New York City’s iconic New York Harbor Tuesday night hours after Governor Andrew Cuomo eliminated nearly all COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and social gatherings, with 70% of all adults across the state having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Cuomo’s California counterpart, Gavin Newsom, used a flashy movie-themed event at the Universal Studios amusement park in Hollywood to announce the official end of most of his state’s coronavirus restrictions, including limits on indoor social gatherings and dropping facemask requirements.