COVID-19 affecting mental health is ‘the norm’ – as prior infection reduces new risk for up to 10 months, research shows | UK News

COVID-19 affecting mental health is ‘the norm’ – as prior infection reduces new risk for up to 10 months, research shows | UK News


COVID-19 impacting mental health is “the norm” and affects the brain in a wide range of ways including fatigue and depression – especially in mild cases, according to new research.

Evidence from 215 studies also found that loss of smell, known as anosmia, was reported by 43% of patients with the disease, followed by weakness (40%), fatigue (38%), loss of taste (37%), muscle pain (25%), depression (23%), headache (21%) and anxiety (16%).

The studies from 30 countries involved a total of 105,638 people with acute symptoms of coronavirus, including data up to July 2020.

Lead author Dr Jonathan Rogers, of UCL Psychiatry and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We had expected that neurological and psychiatric symptoms would be more common in severe COVID-19 cases, but instead we found that some symptoms appeared to be more common in mild cases.

“It appears that COVID-19 affecting mental health and the brain is the norm, rather than the exception.”

Meanwhile, a separate new study showed that prior infection of COVID-19 reduces the risk of catching it again for up to 10 months.

Researchers looked at rates of COVID infections between October and February among more than 2,000 care home residents and staff.

They compared those who had evidence of a previous infection up to 10 months earlier, as determined by antibody testing, with people who had previously not caught the virus.

Care home residents with a previous infection were 85% less likely to contract the virus again between October last year and February this year than residents who had never been infected, researchers found.

And staff who caught the virus before were 60% less likely than staff who had not had the infection before, the study suggested.

The findings suggested strong protection in both groups, but researchers cautioned that the two percentages may not be directly comparable since staff may have accessed testing outside the care home, leading to positive tests not being included in the study.

Lead author Dr Maria Krutikov, of UCL Institute of Health Informatics, said: “It’s really good news that natural infection protects against reinfection in this time period.

“The risk of being infected twice appears to be very low.

“The fact that prior COVID-19 infection gives a high level of protection to care home residents is also reassuring, given past concerns that these individuals might have less robust immune responses associated with increasing age.”



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