A Number Of Signs In The First Week Can Predict The Risk Of Long COVID

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : July 23, 2021

190 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, and 4 million people have died due to the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been revealed that some people may also develop a longer-term illness if they contract SARS-CoV-2, along with the possibility of serious disease during the first few weeks. Most individuals with COVID-19 develop mild-to-moderate symptoms and recover within 2–3 weeks after symptom onset.

A Number Of Signs In The First Week Can Predict The Risk Of Long COVID

Small but significant numbers of individuals continue to have symptoms even after 4 weeks following the development of COVID-19. COVID-19 is the designation given to the symptoms experienced after this acute phase.

A Number Of Signs In The First Week Can Predict The Risk Of Long COVID

Despite the severity of symptoms during the acute phase of the infection, people suffering from this condition can experience prolonged illness. Symptoms of long COVID are fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, and depression, although the presentation of symptoms varies from person to person.

The symptoms of COVID-19, on average, tend to begin after 5 weeks for 1 in 5 people. Furthermore, about 10% of all people with an infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to suffer from these symptoms after 12 weeks.

At the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, a group of researchers called Therapies for long COVID (TLC) looked for patterns in 27 articles published previously on COVID to determine common symptoms and clarify predictors of long-term illness. Furthermore, the researchers reviewed literature with a view to identifying complications related to long COVID as well as management practices for the treatment of such individuals.

The lead author of the study and member of the TLC group, Dr. Shamil Haroon, explained to Medical News Today: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is difficult to diagnose because of the wide range of symptoms people report and that have been explored in the literature.

Our systematic review provided estimates of the prevalence of the most common symptoms by combining the results of previous COVID studies. The symptom burden questionnaire we have developed allows us to holistically assess the wide range of potentially related symptoms and provide an objective measure of symptom burden and life impact.

Asymptomatic COVID and its predictors

The researchers first conducted a search of the literature to find studies that included individuals with long COVID in order to identify the most common symptoms and predictors. Based on an analysis of the pooled data from 27 studies, researchers derived a robust estimate of the most common long-term COVID symptoms.

Among the most common symptoms of the illness were difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, joint pain, and altered taste and smell. The researchers found that this condition usually results in sleep disorders and cognitive impairments, such as memory loss and lack of concentration.

Even mild COVID during an acute phase did not prevent a prolonged illness, but needing oxygen at the time of symptom onset and being hospitalized had an association with more prolonged illness. During the first week of an illness, individuals who exhibit more than five symptoms are more likely to suffer from the disease.

Older age, being a woman, and having preexisting health conditions are associated with an increased risk of long-term COVID. Symptoms that persisted during long COVID were also affected by age and preexisting health conditions.


  • The results of a new systematic review revealed that the risk of developing persistent symptoms or long COVID may be increased among people who experienced more than five symptoms during the first week of their SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • The fact that age, sex, and comorbidities contributed to the development of the disease triggered its development.
  • Cardiovascular and respiratory disorders are more likely in people with long COVID.
  • Multidisciplinary therapies, such as social support, physical rehabilitation, and mental health services, may be needed to manage this disorder.

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Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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