Understanding the course of patients’ recovery from COVID-19 is critical for health system planning and for guiding public health prevention efforts. At less than one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many long-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection remain unknown. However, new evidence is emerging rapidly about symptom profiles and rehabilitation needs of COVID-19 survivors in the initial months of their recovery. This document is a brief summary of published evidence about the sequelae of COVID-19 and ongoing studies of its long-term health effects. Included are manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals or on pre-print servers through August 31, 2020. 

References summarized in this report were drawn from the COVID-19 Literature Report (Lit Rep) team database. References that appeared in the daily Lit Rep are marked with an asterisk*, and the summary is shown in the annotated bibliography below. This list was cross-referenced with the Infectious Disease Society of America COVID-19 Expanded Reference Center, a search of Clinicaltrials.gov for observational studies on COVID-19, and supplemented with studies mentioned in media articles.1 We encourage readers to consult these sites and the daily Lit Rep for evidence that emerges following the date of this report.

Executive Summary of COVID-19 Long-term effects

  • Emerging evidence indicates that a majority of people who require hospitalization for COVID-19 experience sequelae such as fatigue and shortness of breath in the months following their hospital discharge.
  • Evidence on the long-term sequelae of COVID-19 among non-hospitalized but symptomatic individuals remains limited. Short-term follow-up indicates that recovery to usual state of health may be faster for this group than among their hospitalized counterparts.
  • Many epidemiologic studies are ongoing to systematically investigate the long-term effects of COVID-19.

View the full report, which contains :

  • Emerging evidence of COVID-19 Sequelae
  • Ongoing Studies of COVID-19 Clinical Outcomes and Sequelae
  • Table on selected COVID-19 epidemiological studies from these sites or reported on other media sites
  • Recommended Resources
  • Annotated Bibliography


About the COVID-19 Literature Situation Report

The COVID-19 Literature Situation Report is a daily newsletter that provides a succinct summary of the latest scientific literature related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about the report, click here. To subscribe, click here.