Study: Severe COVID patients still face risk after recovery


Medical workers attend to a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. Researchers in England say they have the first evidence that a drug can improve survival from COVID-19. The drug is a cheap, widely available steroid called dexamethasone. Results released Tuesday show it reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalized patients. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — People who have recovered from severe COVID-19 are more than twice as likely to die within the year following their illness than those who have not been infected, according to a study from the University of Florida.

The study highlights serious effects the body can experience after severe infection, including cardiovascular, respiratory and clotting problems, often doubling their chances of further hospitalization and death.

“This is a huge complication of COVID-19 that has not been shown before,” said the study’s lead investigator, Arch G. Mainous III, Ph.D.

Interestingly, researchers found that patients younger than 65 who recovered from severe COVID-19 had a greater chance of dying than their counterparts aged 65 or older.

“Our findings suggest the need for closer follow-up of patients who have been hospitalized with COVID in the same way we keep a close eye on people who are at risk for heart attack.”

The UF team analyzed data from 13,638 adult patient electronic health records who were tested for COVID-19 using a PCR test. The researchers then followed patients for 12 months.

Moving forward, Mainous says preventing severe COVID-19 should be a primary focus. Researchers and health experts stress that vaccination is the most effective way to decrease the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

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