Young COVID Patients Take Longer to Recover Than You'd Think, CDC Says
A new report shows that young patients face lingering health problems from the coronavirus.
For much of the coronavirus pandemic, the focus has been placed on older generations. Many believed that the virus only seriously affected people older than 65, who the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list as the highest risk category. However, there has been an increasing trend of younger adults coming down with COVID-19, despite being otherwise healthy. And while you might assume most young people testing positive for the coronavirus are either asymptomatic or only experiencing a mild case, the CDC says it may not be all good news for these younger adults. In fact, they're now saying that young COVID patients may take even longer to recover than you'd think.
In a report released July 24, the CDC surveyed 274 respondents who had tested positive with symptomatic coronavirus from April 15 to June 25. Out of those patients, 35 percent reported that they were not back to their "usual state of health" 14 to 21 days after being tested for the coronavirus, and 26 percent of those were patients ages 18 to 34. The presence of chronic conditions played a part in some of these prolonged cases in young adults, but 19 percent of the 26 percent had no previous chronic medical conditions.
"This report indicates that even among symptomatic adults tested in outpatient settings, it might take weeks for resolution of symptoms and return to usual health," the CDC stated.
Typically, the CDC says that "prolonged symptom duration and disability are common in adults hospitalized with severe coronavirus," but found that even young patients with mild cases were still reporting lingering coronavirus symptoms such as cough, fatigue, or shortness of breath weeks after testing positive for the virus—showing that "COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness even among persons with milder outpatient illness, including young adults."
And according to the CDC, the trend of normal health not returning within two to three weeks after testing seems to be unique to COVID. One-third of all the outpatient respondents reported that they had not gotten back to usual health in this time period, while, for comparison, 90 percent of outpatients who recover from the flu do so about two weeks after their positive test result.
"Non-hospitalized COVID-19 illness can result in prolonged illness and persistent symptoms, even in young adults and persons with no or few chronic underlying medical conditions," the CDC report states. "Public health messaging should target populations that might not perceive COVID-19 illness as being severe or prolonged, including young adults and those without chronic underlying medical conditions. Preventative measures, including social distancing, frequent hand washing, and the consistent and correct use of face coverings in public, should be strongly encouraged to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2." And for more on the spread of the coronavirus, You Can Catch COVID From Someone This Many Days After Their Symptoms Begin.