Who are the French affected by the Covid-long? A first study lifts the veil

COVID-19 – Public Health France is trying to unravel the mysteries of the long Covid. In the first results of a study published Thursday, July 21, the national agency estimates the number of French people suffering from a long Covid at 4%, or 2.06 million adults. The proportion rises to 30% for people infected more than three months previously.

The aim of this study is to assess the prevalence of the disease in the population and to measure its impact on daily life. To carry it out, SpF interviewed 27,537 people aged 18 and over, representative of the French population. The institution specifies that it has used the definition of long Covid used by the World Health Organization.

For the latter, the long Covid “generally appears within 3 months of the initial infection with SARS-COV-2 and is characterized by symptoms persisting for at least 2 months”. These symptoms, such as cough, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, or even depression, “cannot be explained by other diagnoses” and “have an impact on daily life”.

Women and working people more prone to long Covid

33.9% of respondents indicated having been sick with Covid-19 (probable or confirmed infection). Among them, 39.3% (ie 3,668 people) had it at least three months before the survey, ie 13% of the total population surveyed. 30% of the latter suffer from a long Covid, that is to say that they have the symptoms mentioned above three months after their infection. Of the total study population, the rate is 4%.

The results show that the long Covid, or “post-Covid-19 disease” affects more women, working people and people who have been hospitalized. In addition, the signs of the disease decrease over time, although “20% of people who had an infection with SARS-CoV-2” still had symptoms “18 months after infection”, details SpF.

Another lesson is that the health professional most in demand in the event of a long Covid is the general practitioner (87% of cases). This is why SpF concludes that “good information for general practitioners on post-Covid-19 disease and additional care systems appears necessary”.

“The results of the study should, however, be interpreted with caution. Although the method makes it possible to ensure the representativeness of the sample, the results are based on a sample made up of volunteers recruited from a panel”, points out Public Health France. A second study on the subject must be carried out, this time on a random sample “in order to produce more robust estimates”.

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