The impact of Long COVID: insights from an online peer support group

A summary of research published in ERJ Open Research

Online peer support groups have become one platform of care for people with Long COVID – the name given to the ongoing symptoms experienced by people who developed COVID-19.

This study collected feedback from members of an online peer support group to look at how the disease was still having an impact on people’s lives.

What did the study look at?

Researchers used reports from people in an online support group taken at 3 and 6 months after an initial diagnosis of COVID-19. They looked at how well they were functioning in their day-to-day activities, whether they were productive at work, any persisting health symptoms and their quality of life.

What do the results show?

239 people with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 were included in the study. During the initial time of infection, an average of 15 symptoms were reported. This was found to be lower at 3 months later and 6 months later, although an average of 6 symptoms were still being reported at both stages.

People also reported an increase in their work productivity after the initial period of infection and there was an increase in those reporting good health over the time of the study.

However, while the group reported improvements in all the measurements, at 6 months after the initial COVID-19-related symptoms started, a large proportion of the group still experienced some persistent symptoms.

Why is this important?

This study adds further evidence to demonstrate the long-term impact of COVID-19 in some people who were still reporting symptoms up to 6 months after the initial infection. The authors believe that more action is needed to improve the quality of life for people recovering from the infection.

Read the original research paper

Title: Recovery from COVID-19: a sprint or marathon? 6 months follow-up data of online long COVID-19 support group members