Long COVID (Post COVID-19 condition)

SARS-CoV-2 can attack the body in a range of ways, causing damage to the immune, cardiovascular, and nervous systems, lungs, heart, brain, kidneys, liver, and other organs, often leading to long-term health issues. 

Long COVID – or Post COVID-19 condition is defined as symptoms and conditions that continue or develop after the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection, lasting for weeks, months, years, or even indefinitely. These symptoms can be different from what was felt during the acute phase.

Long Covid can affect anybody, regardless of age, health, or preexisting conditions, even after mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. It is estimated that at least 10% of infected people develop long-term symptoms. Based on this conservative estimated incidence and the more than 651 million documented COVID-19 cases in the world, at least 65 million people worldwide are estimated to have Long COVID. This number is likely much higher due to many undocumented cases.[1]

Research suggests that between one month and one year after having COVID-19, 1 in 5 people ages 18 to 64 has at least one medical condition that might be due to COVID-19. Among people age 65 and older, 1 in 4 has at least one medical condition that might be due to COVID-19. [2]

To date, more than 200 symptoms have been identified, with impacts on multiple organ systems. 

The most reported symptoms in adults are: [3]

The most reported symptoms in children are:

Current diagnostic and treatment options for Long COVID are lacking, and according to a study of more than 13 million people, vaccination only lowers your chances of developing the condition by about 15% [4].

Therefore, a layered approach to avoid infection with SARS-CoV-2 is still the best way to prevent Long COVID. 

Supports for Nova Scotians

Nova Scotians who are experiencing Long COVID symptoms (and tested positive for COVID-19 at least 3 months ago) can fill out a survey designed to connect them to supports to manage their symptoms at https://library.nshealth.ca/CovidRecovery

The province also offers a symptom tracker: 



[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-022-00846-2 Long COVID: major findings, mechanisms and recommendations 

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351 COVID-19: Long-term effects)

[3] https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/symptoms/post-covid-19-condition.html (Post COVID-19 condition (Long COVID) - Government of Canada)

[4] https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01453-0 Long COVID risk falls only slightly after vaccination, huge study shows