New health issues are showing up in patients months after they've recovered from a mild case of COVID-19, researchers have found. The symptoms include a cough, shortness of breath, heart rate abnormalities, chest or throat pain, and fatigue, the New York Times reports. The issues "likely represent ongoing COVID-19 symptoms," the study said. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente investigators looked at the cases of 3,171 Kaiser Permanente Georgia patients, more than half of whom are Black. Two-thirds of those who sought treatment one to six months after testing positive for the coronavirus were told a condition was present that wasn't before their illness, the study found.
Patients should know that "it's possible you may experience new or persistent symptoms months after the initial diagnosis," even if the case of COVID-19 was mild, the study's lead author said. If new symptoms surface, patients should tell their clinicians, said Dr. Alfonso Hernandez-Romieu of the CDC. "It's equally important for clinicians to acknowledge that there may be these long-term effects and to really make sure they're validating patients," he said, "treating them with empathy and trying to help them in the best way possible." The findings demonstrate the necessity of taking prevention measures and being vaccinated, he said, even after a mild case of the disease. "There is a lot we don’t know about post-COVID conditions," Hernandez-Romieu said. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)