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The COVID-19 pandemic is having a lasting impact on health and well-being. We compare current self-reported health, quality of life and symptom profiles for people with ongoing symptoms following COVID-19 to those who have never tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection and those who have recovered from COVID-19. Overall, 276,840/800,000 (34·6%) of invited participants took part. Mental health and health-related quality of life were worse among participants with ongoing persistent symptoms post-COVID compared with those who had never had COVID-19 or had recovered. In this study, median duration of COVID-related symptoms (N = 130,251) was 1·3 weeks (inter-quartile range 6 days to 2 weeks), with 7·5% and 5·2% reporting ongoing symptoms ≥12 weeks and ≥52 weeks respectively. Female sex, ≥1 comorbidity and being infected when Wild-type variant was dominant were associated with higher probability of symptoms lasting ≥12 weeks and longer recovery time in those with persistent symptoms. Although COVID-19 is usually of short duration, some adults experience persistent and burdensome illness.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Humans, Adult, Female, COVID-19, Pandemics, Quality of Life, SARS-CoV-2, England