CDC study shows one in three Long Beach residents infected with COVID-19 had long-lasting symptoms

A study of Long Beach residents who contracted COVID-19 shows one in three suffered long-term symptoms for weeks to months after they were infected.

The study by the Centers for Disease Control was conducted through phone interviews of randomly selected residents in cooperation with the city health department.

Close to 400 people who contracted COVID-19 between April 1, 2020, and Dec. 10, 2020, a period before vaccinations were available, agreed to participate in the study. Interviews were conducted in English, Spanish or Khmer.

The findings showed one-third had at least one symptom of COVID-19 two months after a positive test result, with higher odds among people over 40, women, Black residents and those with preexisting health conditions.

The study may help in treatment and diagnosis of the virus, particularly as health disparities “resulting from structure and socioeconomic barriers in the U.S. health care system might contribute to differences in these effects and might continue to exacerbate existing inequities,” the authors of the study said.

Among the study findings:

  • 19 of the participants were hospitalized because of COVID-19.
  • Respondents reported an average 5.26 symptoms, with loss of taste and smell, joint pain, fatigue and difficulty breathing among the top reported symptoms.
  • Just over half reported severe symptoms.
  • Women had higher odds of developing lack of taste and/or smell than men; people over 40 had higher odds of developing loss of both taste and smell than those who were younger.
  • People with at least one preexisting condition had higher adjusted odds of developing all four of the most common symptoms.

The authors note that the findings are limited due to a low sample size, which can result in error estimates for some groups, particularly among racial groups and those with preexisting health conditions.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, 62,956 people in Long Beach have contracted COVID-19, and 1,000 people have died as of Friday.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the most recent coronavirus data.

‘The single largest loss of life’: COVID-19 has now killed 1,000 Long Beach residents


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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.