The data collected from more than 70,000 people in 302 British hospitals finds that one in two people hospitalised with Covid-19 developed at least one complication. Unlike other diseases, the virus causes a mystifying array of symptoms that persist long after the acute illness is resolved and can render some affected unable to resume their usual activities.
Of the number sampled, half of them developed one or more health complications during their hospitalisation and high rates of complications across all age groups. The study, done between January 17 and August 4, 2020, before vaccines were widely available found out that renal, complex respiratory and systemic complications were the major illnesses.
However, cardiovascular, neurological, and gastrointestinal and liver complications were also reported.
In some patients, symptoms have now continued for many months with no apparent end in sight, with many survivors fearing that they will simply have to adjust to a “new normal”.
Prof Calum Semple
Many sufferers have not been able to return to work, even months after their initial illness. While the number of patients with persistent illness remains undetermined.
“This work contradicts current narratives that Covid-19 is only dangerous in people with existing co-morbidities and the elderly,” said senior author Prof Calum Semple, from the University of Liverpool.
“Disease severity at admission is a predictor of complications even in younger adults, so prevention of complications requires a primary prevention strategy, meaning vaccination.
The complications were assessed at multiple time points until discharge or, if the patient was not discharged, 28 days after hospitalisation. The study also investigated the ability of patients to look after themselves after discharge from the hospital.
The findings revealed that complications were high even in young, previously healthy individuals, with 27 percent with acute complications majorly associated with reduced a patient’s ability to take care of self on discharge from hospital.
The authors note that their findings remain relevant in dispelling suggestions that Covid-19 presents no risk to younger healthy adults, many of whom remain unvaccinated.
The data showed that complications were more common in men than women and slightly higher in black patients than whites.
“Men and those aged older than 60 years were most likely affected, but complications and poor functional outcomes were common, even in younger, previously healthy adults,” says the study.
Following hospitalisation, 27 per cent of patients aged 19-29 and 37 percent of those aged30-39 were less able to look after themselves than before Covid-19. This was more common with older age, being male, and in people who received critical care.
The association between having a complication and worse ability for self-care remained irrespective of age, sex, socioeconomic status, and which hospital someone received treatment in.
“Based on these rates, the authors say that policymakers and healthcare planners should anticipate that large amounts of health and social care resources will be required to support those who survive Covid-19,” says the study.
According to the Centre for Disease Control, Some people who had a severe illness with Covid-19 experience multi-organ effects or autoimmune conditions over a longer time with symptoms lasting weeks or months after the illness.
Meanwhile, Kenya will soon receive 1.7 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from the US following talks between Foreign Affairs Cabinet secretary Raychelle Omamo and the State Department on Friday.
The meeting discussed several issues, including regional geopolitics and security.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “We have a lot to talk about. And of course, we’re very pleased to have been able to help with Covid and vaccines. There are 1.7 million vaccines that are en route soon to Kenya.”
However, he did not disclose the vaccine type the US would donate to Kenya. However, the US is currently inoculating its citizens with Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The US has 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, which is yet to be authorised for use in the country.
Mr Blinken said in an earlier interview the vaccines, which must first go through a review by the Food and Drug Administration to make sure that they were produced safely and securely, would be made available to other countries.
“We have a very important strategic partnership with Kenya. We are working together across the continent and beyond, indeed, when you were on the UN Security Council working on global issues, working on regional issues. But we are especially grateful for the strategic partnership that we have,” he said.
Ms Omamo thanked the US for the vaccine donation.
“We work together on a variety of issues both nationally and regionally and globally. We both believe in the same principles, the same values of democracy and the idea that there is hope in every person and that we can surmount our challenges through solidarity, through working together, and through moving forward, especially in the aftermath of Covid-19,” she said.
Kenya has been relying on high-income countries for AstraZeneca vaccine donations to innoculate its citizens. So far, only two percent of the population had received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
As of yesterday, only 572,361 people had been fully vaccinated. About one million received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.