COVID-19 Evidence Alerts
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Prognosis Liu B, Jayasundara D, Pye V, et al. Whole of population-based cohort study of recovery time from COVID-19 in New South Wales Australia. Lancet Reg Health West Pac. 2021 Jul;12:100193. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2021.100193. Epub 2021 Jun 25.
Abstract

Background: COVID-19 results in persisting symptoms but there is little systematically collected data estimating recovery time following infection.

Methods: We followed 94% of all COVID-19 cases diagnosed in the Australian state of New South Wales between January and May 2020 using 3-4 weekly telephone interviews and linkage to hospitalisation and death data to determine if they had recovered from COVID-19 based on symptom resolution. Proportional hazards models with competing risks were used to estimate time to recovery adjusted for age and gender.

Findings: In analyses 2904 cases were followed for recovery (median follow-up time 16 days, range 1-122, IQR 11-24).There were 2572 (88.6%) who reported resolution of symptoms (262/2572 were also hospitalised), 224 (7.8%) had not recovered at last contact (28/224 were also hospitalised), 51 (1.8%) died of COVID-19, and 57 (2.0%) were hospitalised without a documented recovery date. Of those followed, 20% recovered by 10 days, 60% at 20, 80% at 30, 91% at 60, 93% at 90 and 96% at 120 days. Compared to those aged 30-49 years, those 0-29 years were more likely to recover (aHR 1.22, 95%CI 1.10-1.34) while those aged 50-69 and 70+ years were less likely to recover (aHR respectively 0.74, 95%CI 0.67-0.81 and 0.63, 95%CI 0.56-0.71). Men were faster to recover than women (aHR 1.20, 95%CI 1.11-1.29) and those with pre-existing co-morbidities took longer to recover than those without (aHR 0.90, 95%CI 0.83-0.98).

Interpretation: In a setting where most cases of COVID-19 were ascertained and followed, 80% of those with COVID-19 recover within a month, but about 5% will continue to experience symptoms 3 months later.

Funding: NSW Health Emergency Response Priority Research Projects.

Ratings
Discipline / Specialty Area Score
Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists
Internal Medicine
Pediatric Hospital Medicine
Infectious Disease
Pediatrics (General)
Public Health
Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Comments from MORE raters

Infectious Disease rater

This quantitative assessment for recovery time from COVID-19 helps set expectations. However the severity of illness at onset not accounted for and may not apply to populations outside New South Wales Australia due to social, cultural and genetic factors.

Pediatric Hospital Medicine rater

Nice cohort study with high retention rate.