Only 25 percent of people infected with COVID-19 have managed to recover fully after one month, while the majority of cases still suffer problems in respiratory, nerve, cardiovascular or endocrine systems after testing negative even though many have no symptoms, local experts said on Monday, citing a recent study.

Medical experts from the Shanghai International Medical Center collected and studied information of more than 2,000 post-COVID patients aged between 7 and 81 from different regions such as Shanghai, Beijing, Shenyang in Liaoning Province and Hebei Province. They conducted detailed artificial intelligence-based cell-level evaluation and analysis of 100 patients.

"Only 13.8 percent of patients have had complete recovery and 10.8 percent almost recovered. However, 75.4 percent of the people had problems in multiple systems, due to various reasons, like age, underlying diseases and the impact of the coronavirus," said Su Shan, who led the study.

Criteria for COVID-19 recovery

  • Body temperature returns to normal for at least three days.
  • All symptoms have disappeared or almost disappeared.
  • CT check confirms lung infection has greatly resolved.
  • Negative results of nucleic acid test in two consecutive days, or with a CT value over 35, or negative results of three antigen tests.
Full recovery evades majority of COVID-19 patients

Ti Gong

Su Shan from the Shanghai International Medical Center explains the AI-based cell-level study on 100 post-COVID patients.

"Moreover, 16.8 percent of asymptomatic or recovered patients were still found with viral vectors, which means they are still contagious. There is a risk of relapse if they have weak immunity," Su said.

"For people suffering post-COVID symptoms, their problems also vary, including headache, insomnia, poor memory, coughing, shortness of breath, abnormal heartbeat, body ache, fatigue and irregular menstruation."

Doctors said the first one to two months after COVID-19 infection is risky, especially for elderly people and those with underlying diseases.

"People should be on high alert and avoid severe exercises. Do not drink alcohol or smoke and maintain good habits like wearing masks and washing hands frequently. It is important to visit the hospital if suffering symptoms," she added.

On high alert for respiratory diseases

The Shanghai Health Promotion Center issued a notice on Monday, calling for awareness about respiratory diseases even though the pandemic is at a low level in the nation. With the end of the Spring Festival break, people are returning to their working post or schools. It is still important to do the following:

  • Wear masks in crowded indoor places and elevators.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Keep social distance.
  • Visit doctors if suffering symptoms.

"People with post-COVID symptoms can visit COVID-19 rehabilitation clinics at community health centers and hospitals for professional diagnosis and treatment," the center added.

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