Many Canadians experiencing long COVID

Those with more severe symptoms more likely to feel effects 3 months later: Statistics Canada

Many Canadians experiencing long COVID

About 1.4 million Canadians, or 14.8 per cent of the population, have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 three months after they were infected.

This is more common among women (18 per cent) than men (11.6 per cent), according to a report by Statistics Canada.

Among adults who had a positive test or suspected infection before December 2021, 25.8 per cent had symptoms at least three months after their infection.

Meanwhile, for those who had an infection in December 2021 or after — with the emergence of the omicron variant — the percentage with symptoms at least three months after infection decreased to 10.5 per cent.

Common symptoms

Fatigue (72.1 per cent) is the most common symptom at least three months of an initial or suspected infection, followed by cough (39.3 per cent), shortness of breath (38.5 per cent) and “brain fog” (32.9 per cent).

“Fever, dry cough, and fatigue are commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19. However, a wide range of symptoms have been identified, such as loss of taste or smell, sore throat, headache, muscle or joint pain, shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest, and psychological symptoms including anxiety and depression,” says Ottawa.

“The severity of the initial symptoms varied considerably among Canadian adults who tested positive for or reported having COVID-19.”

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And 16.7 per cent of Canadians say their symptoms are severe — which was defined as having a significant impact on their daily lives — while 43.9 per cent rate their symptoms as moderate and 34.2 per cent say they are mild.

For those who rated their symptoms as severe at the time of their first positive test or suspected infection, 36.4 per cent said they had symptoms at least three months after their infection. Among those who rated the symptoms as moderate, 15 per cent reported longer-term symptoms, while 6.3 per cent who reported a mild case of COVID-19 reported longer-term symptoms.

“The percentage who indicated longer-term symptoms decreased as the severity of their initial symptoms decreased,” noted Statistics Canada.

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A higher percentage of women reported moderate (46.9 per cent) and severe symptoms (18 per cent) compared with men (40.9 per cent and 15.2 per cent, respectively).

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