Covid-19 patients with milder symptoms seem to recover slower

Doctor looking at an X-ray
Doctor looking at an X-rayOtnaYdurDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Coronavirus patients whose symptoms were not serious enough to be hospitalized seem to recover more slowly than patients who were admitted, according to a survey of 100 pulmonologists in the Netherlands by the association for doctors who treat lung diseases NVALT. These doctors are currently seeing a wave of ex-Covid-19 patients who still have respiratory problems and fatigue, NOS reports.

"We are surprised by the high number of ex-Covid-19 patients who now come to us with complaints," Leon van den Toorn, chairman of NVALT, said to NOS. Many people who recovered at home first saw their symptoms improve, but later worsen again or persist. "We see that almost all patients complain about persistent labored breathing and poor exertion, while the abnormalities on the lung photos are quite minor."

It is not yet clear why it is taking patients with milder cases of Covid-19 longer to recover, more research is needed, Van den Toorn said. "But it could be that the immune system is less cranked up during a 'mild' course of the disease, so that fewer antibodies are released and the recovery is therefore slower."

Van den Toorn stressed that most lung photos do not show major damage. "That may be a reassurance for patients." Whether the lung damage that did occur is permanent, cannot yet be said. "That will have to show in the slightly longer term, six months to a year."