Persistent COVID-19 symptoms in a community study of 606,434 people in England

Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 12;13(1):1957. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-29521-z.


Long COVID remains a broadly defined syndrome, with estimates of prevalence and duration varying widely. We use data from rounds 3-5 of the REACT-2 study (n = 508,707; September 2020 - February 2021), a representative community survey of adults in England, and replication data from round 6 (n = 97,717; May 2021) to estimate the prevalence and identify predictors of persistent symptoms lasting 12 weeks or more; and unsupervised learning to cluster individuals by reported symptoms. At 12 weeks in rounds 3-5, 37.7% experienced at least one symptom, falling to 21.6% in round 6. Female sex, increasing age, obesity, smoking, vaping, hospitalisation with COVID-19, deprivation, and being a healthcare worker are associated with higher probability of persistent symptoms in rounds 3-5, and Asian ethnicity with lower probability. Clustering analysis identifies a subset of participants with predominantly respiratory symptoms. Managing the long-term sequelae of COVID-19 will remain a major challenge for affected individuals and their families and for health services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19* / complications
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
  • SARS-CoV-2