Two recent UK studies imply that middle-aged women treated for COVID-19 suffer the most long-lasting symptoms of the virus compared with other demographics. Five months after hospital treatment, roughly 70% of the patients in a study continued to suffer from symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, muscle pain and respiratory issues.
Researchers contend that women’s poor recover rates may have to do with how their bodies stave off illness. One theory is that their immune systems may respond differently to the virus than men’s immune systems.
Roughly 18% could not return to work
A study by the University of Leicester conducted follow-ups with more than 1,000 patients who had been treated for COVID-19 in UK hospitals last year. Of that group, 70% had not fully recovered from the virus five months after a hospital discharge. Women were the most affected.
A smaller study by the University of Glasgow discovered that women under the age of 50 continued to suffer worse symptoms than others seven months after receiving hospital treatment. For example, this group of women were seven times more likely to experience breathlessness and twice as likely to experience fatigue than men within the same age group.
The University of Leicester study found:
- The ongoing COVID-19 symptoms prevented 18% of the patients from returning to work, while 19% had to change jobs.
- Long-haulers were most likely to be white females between the ages of 40 and 60 who had at least two underlying conditions and were on a ventilator at one point.
Across the ocean in the U.S., the country continues to see increasing numbers of “long-haulers,” while also grappling with the question whether a COVID-19-related disability qualifies such workers for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. This group has suffered enough and needs answers.