New research has found that almost a third of hospitalised coronavirus patients return to hospital within five months, while one in eight die.
The research, conducted by Leicester University and the Office for National Statistics (ONS), looked at the outcomes for 47,780 people who were hospitalised with coronavirus during the first wave.
Of this group, they found that 29.4 per cent returned to hospital within 140 days, with 12.3 per cent of the total patients dying.
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The current cut-off for attributing a death to coronavirus is 28 days, so the findings may indicate that more people are dying of the disease than indicated by statistics.
Though experts have called the findings "important", the study was published on a pre-print server and has not yet been peer-reviewed.
'Monitoring of patients is needed'
Kamlesh Khunti, the study's author and professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at Leicester University, told The Telegraph: "This is the largest study of people discharged from hospital after being admitted with Covid.
“People seem to be going home, getting long-term effects, coming back in and dying. We see nearly 30 per cent have been readmitted, and that’s a lot of people. The numbers are so large.
“The message here is we really need to prepare for long Covid. It’s a mammoth task to follow up with these patients and the NHS is really pushed at the moment, but some sort of monitoring needs to be arranged.”
He added that it was important to ensure people are placed on protective therapies in the wake of contracting severe coronavirus, such as statins and aspirin.
Commenting on the study via Twitter, Christina Pagel, director of the clinical operational research unit at University College London said: “This is such important work. Covid is about so much more than death. A significant burden of long-term illness after hospitalisation for Covid.”