Long-term health-related quality of life in non-hospitalised COVID-19 cases with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in England: Longitudinal analysis and cross-sectional comparison with controls.


Prospective cohort study of non-hospitalised, PCR-confirmed SARSCoV2(+) cases aged 12-85 years and followed up for six months from 01 December 2020, with cross-sectional comparison to SARSCoV2() controls. Main outcomes were QALD losses; physical symptoms; and COVID-19-related private expenditures. We analysed results using multivariable regressions with post-hoc weighting by age and sex, and conditional logistic regressions for the association of each symptom and EQ-5D limitation on cases and controls.

We aimed to quantify the unknown losses in health-related quality of life of COVID-19 cases using quality-adjusted life days (QALDs) and the recommended EQ-5D instrument in England.

Of 548 cases (mean age 41.1 years; 61.5% female), 16.8% reported physical symptoms at month 6 (most frequently extreme tiredness, headache, loss of taste and/or smell, and shortness of breath). Cases reported more limitations with doing usual activities than controls. Almost half of cases spent a mean of £18.1 on non-prescription drugs (median: £10.0), and 52.7% missed work or school for a mean of 12 days (median: 10). On average, all cases lost 13.7 (95%-CI: 9.7, 17.7) QALDs, while those reporting symptoms at month 6 lost 32.9 (24.5, 37.6) QALDs. Losses also increased with older age. Cumulatively, the health loss from morbidity contributes at least 18% of the total COVID-19-related disease burden in England.

One in 6 cases report ongoing symptoms at 6 months, and 10% report prolonged loss of function compared to pre-COVID-19 baselines. A marked health burden was observed among older COVID-19 cases and those with persistent physical symptoms.

MIDAS Network Members

John Edmunds

Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Mark Jit

Professor of Vaccine Epidemiology
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

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