Around a third of U.S. adults who contracted Covid-19 had still not returned to full health two or three weeks after testing positive, according to a study from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention published Friday, shedding light on the long-term nature of the illness.
Surveying 292 people across 13 states, the CDC found that 35% of respondents who experienced symptoms at the time of testing were still feeling lingering effects at the time of the interviews.
“In contrast, over 90% of outpatients with influenza recover within approximately 2 weeks of having a positive test result,” the report reads.
While younger people are less likely to have severe cases of the disease, the study found that nearly one in five respondents aged between 18 and 34 years old were still recovering from the virus two to three weeks after testing positive.
About 93% of the respondents were not admitted to a hospital yet were still experiencing symptoms, most commonly coughing (43%), fatigue (35%) and shortness of breath (29%), with even 34% of respondents who said they’d returned to normal health still reporting at least one symptom among a list of 17.
The report comes as cases have skyrocketed across the country over the summer, especially among young people who may not consider themselves at much risk.
“Non-hospitalized Covid-19 illness can result in prolonged illness and persistent symptoms, even in young adults and persons with no or few chronic underlying medical conditions,” the study says.
Speaking with NBC News in June, Oregon preschool teacher Amy Watson said she was still experiencing symptoms like a high fever since testing positive in April. “You’re not crazy. These symptoms are real,” she told NBC. “If you find a medical professional is not listening to you, find a different one.”
The World Health Organization reported the highest single day increase in cases worldwide on Friday with 284,196, driven in part by the U.S. The country leads all others in confirmed cases, 4,084,551, as well as reported deaths with 144,954.
A debate on whether to hold in-person instruction in schools has been ongoing in the U.S., with the Trump administration arguing that children are at a lower risk of having serious cases of Covid-19. But as illustrated by the CDC’s report, much is still unknown about the long-term effects of the virus. Another worry is that kids will still spread the virus in their homes and to the teachers themselves, even if they don’t experience any symptoms.