Even mild COVID-19 infection often leads to lingering problems: Swedish study

Even mild COVID-19 infection often leads to long-term problems, according to a large cohort study among health care professionals in Sweden.

Eight months after infection, one in ten had persistent problems severe enough to have a negative impact socially, at work and home, Swedish Television (SVT) reported on Wednesday. The most prevalent symptoms were loss of smell and taste, fatigue, and respiratory difficulties.

The study also found that one in four had symptoms lasting for more than two months.

“It is important that the public knows that even mild COVID can affect your quality of life negatively for quite some time,” Charlotte Thalin, a researcher and specialist physician, told SVT.

However, the study including more than 2,000 employees at one of Stockholm’s hospitals did not find an increased incidence of other long-term problems that have previously been reported.

“There has been talking of palpitations, memory problems, and prolonged fever even after mild COVID. We did not see this in our study,” Thalin said, adding that the discrepancy could possibly be explained by the fact that the median age of the subjects in the study was relatively low.

The results of the study, which is run by Danderyd University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet in collaboration with KTH Royal Institute of Technology, SciLifeLab, Uppsala University, and the Swedish Public Health Agency, have been published in Journal of the American Medical Association.