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Omicron less likely to cause long COVID, study finds

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Posted at 2:19 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 14:19:01-04

The omicron COVID-19 variant that swept the world in late 2021 and early 2022 is not as likely to cause long COVID in those who get infected, a study released Thursday determined.

The study was published in the Lancet and collected data from thousands of people participating in the Zoe Health Study.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that long COVID symptoms generally could last weeks or months after infection. Long COVID can cause patients to have difficulty breathing, coughing and general tiredness well after being infected with the virus.

While long COVID symptoms might be less likely with those who are infected with the omicron variant, researchers said the condition’s symptoms remain a concern.

“Omicron appears to cause less severe acute illness than previous variants, at least in vaccinated populations,” the study noted. “However, the potential for large numbers of people to experience long-term symptoms is a major concern, and health and workforce planners need information urgently to appropriately scale resource allocation.”

The CDC noted that unvaccinated people generally face a higher risk of long COVID symptoms.

One caveat to the study is it does not detail the duration of long COVID symptoms, nor does it address the severity of the symptoms.

The study noted that because of the large number of people infected with the omicron variant in late 2021 and early 2022, the number of people suffering from long COVID also increased.