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A LOT Of Canadians Got Long COVID & Here Are The Most Common Symptoms

"Anyone who has been infected might be at risk of prolonged and recurrent symptoms."

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Someone exits St-Laurent metro station wearing a face mask.

Someone exits St-Laurent metro station wearing a face mask.

With another COVID-19 wave imminent, data has revealed a number of Canadians who caught the virus and experienced mild symptoms may have also contracted "long COVID." A new report by Statistics Canada finds that people who recovered from their initial infections still have lingering symptoms of fatigue, brain fog and shortness of breath.

Around one-third (32%) of Canadians aged 18 and up have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic and just over 8% think they caught the virus but aren't sure, according to initial data about residents with lasting post-COVID symptoms released this week. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) suggests those numbers are lower due to self-reporting and false negative test results.

Around four in five adults who did test positive or thought they might have COVID showed mild to moderate symptoms during their first infection. Nearly 15% of those people (1.4 million Canadians) were still experiencing symptoms at least three months after they got sick.

More women report ongoing symptoms (18%) compared to men (12%). The most common prolonged symptoms include:

  • Fatigue (72%)
  • Cough (39%)
  • Breathing difficulty (39%)
  • Brain fog (33%)

Headache, muscle pain and chest pain or pressure are also prevalent.

"Anyone who has been infected might be at risk of having prolonged and recurrent symptoms," according to PHAC, although that risk is greater for people who had a severe first case of COVID-19.

Over a third of people reporting severe symptoms (36%) say they have seen lasting effects from the virus. A similar number (33%) fully recovered from COVID before seeing their symptoms return, with more men (37%) experiencing renewed symptoms than women (29%).

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