Postacute COVID-19: An Overview and Approach to Classification

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2020 Oct 21;7(12):ofaa509. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofaa509. eCollection 2020 Dec.


As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has progressed, a large volume of literature has developed delineating the clinical manifestations of acute infection. Recent reports have also started to describe persistent symptoms extending beyond the period of initial illness or hospitalization. Anecdotes of different signs and symptoms occurring after acute infection have also arisen in the lay press. Here we describe the current existing medical literature on the emerging concept of postacute COVID-19 and suggest an approach to classifying different manifestations of the syndrome. We also review long-term clinical manifestations observed in patients who recovered from infection due to other epidemic coronaviruses and briefly discuss potential mechanisms driving the phenomenon of postacute COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; definition; long COVID; postacute.

Publication types

  • Review