Recovered COVID-19 patients might have lasting health impacts, according to a recent study conducted by the researchers at the University of Glasgow. They pointed out that a COVID-19 diagnosis might have more detrimental consequences than expected.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been responsible for increasing deaths worldwide. Most studies have focused only on the number of deaths with very little focus on the years of life lost (YLL) to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As most people dying with COVID-19 are older with underlying long-term conditions (LTCs), some have speculated that YLL is low. We aim to estimate YLL attributable to COVID-19, before and after adjustment for number/type of LTCs,” said the researchers in their paper published in Wellcome Open Research.

Key findings of the study:

  • Even post-recovery, a person could lose more than a decade of their life to the deadly novel coronavirus.
  • An average male could lose up to 13 years of his life and a female around 11 years, even after they have recovered.
  • The coronavirus has similar long-term impacts on human health as coronary heart diseases and thereby lower one’s life expectancy rates.
  • Previous studies from China have reported reduced lung function among recovered patients.
  • Individuals with blood clots or preexisting ailments could also face a higher risk of long-term damages.

The research team used a statistical measurement named ‘years of potential life lost’ or the average time one might have lived if they didn’t die from COVID-19 pandemic and leveraged data from WHO while making their estimates.

“Deaths from COVID-19 represent a substantial burden in terms of per-person YLL, more than a decade, even after adjusting for the typical number and type of LTCs found in people dying of COVID-19. The extent of multimorbidity heavily influences the estimated YLL at a given age. More comprehensive and standardized collection of data on LTCs is needed to better understand and quantify the global burden of COVID-19 and to guide policy-making and interventions,” concluded the researchers.

The study is currently awaiting peer review and the researchers believe that other experts working in the same field would evaluate and verify the accuracy of this important finding.

Coronavirus deaths in the US are on the rise, topping 75,000 this week
Coronavirus deaths in the US are on the rise, topping 75,000 this week AFP / Angela Weiss