Coronavirus: COVID-19 lingers in ‘long haulers’ who say they have had nearly 100 different symptoms

A survey released Wednesday showed just how wide-ranging symptoms of the COVID-19 virus can be, especially for a group of people who seem to suffer from the virus for weeks on end.

According to the Indian University School of Medicine report, nearly 100 symptoms have been reported in the group of people who have had an extended bout of the virus.

The group, self-named “long-haulers,” reported experiencing 98 different symptoms ranging from lower back pain to blurry vision, to night sweats and anxiety.

The group are identified as having been diagnosed with a seemingly mild to moderate form of the COVID-19 virus.

"They're not quite sick enough to be hospitalized, but they are suffering from very severe symptoms, sometimes for a very long time at home," Natalie Lambert, an associate professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine said.

The group took its name from the fact that the effects of the virus can linger weeks or months after a diagnosis.

The study grew out of the efforts of a COVID-19 support group called Survivor Corps. Lambert surveyed more than 1,500 patients on the group's Facebook page about their symptoms.

What she found was that patients described 98 different symptoms they attributed to their COVID-19 diagnosis. According to those patients, as many as a third were not back to their usual health three weeks after their diagnosis.

Participants in the study remained anonymous, with researchers having no way to know when or by whom they were diagnosed.

Likewise, there was no way to show which symptoms could be directly linked to the virus, only that those who say they have been diagnosed with the virus say they began suffering from the symptom after their diagnosis.

Two of the symptoms – the inability to exercise or be active and difficulty concentrating – have not yet been put on the list of COVID-19 symptoms produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Those symptoms include:
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The survey found among other things:

  • Long Haulers’ COVID-19 symptoms are far more numerous than what is currently listed on the CDC’s website
  • While the impact of COVID-19 on the lungs and vascular system have received some media and medical attention, the results of this survey suggest that brain, whole body, eye, and skin symptoms are also frequent-occurring health problems for people recovering from COVID-19
  • Survivor Corp group members frequently report reaching out to primary care doctors for help managing such lesser-known and painful symptoms, but find that some physicians are unable or unwilling to help patients manage these due to lack of research
  • A reported 26.5% of symptoms experienced by Long Haulers are described as painful by the group members

Click here to read the report.