New research indicates that survivors of severe cases of COVID-19 are more likely to die the next year when compared with uninfected people or those with mild cases.

As the Guardian reported via a study published in Frontiers in Medicine, research shows those infected with severe cases of COVID-19 are prone to suffering long-term health issues. If hospitalized with COVID-19, individuals are twice as likely to die within the following 12 months than individuals who haven’t contracted the virus. Patients under 65 are at higher risk of dying one year on from infection, in particular.

“Patients with a COVID-19 hospitalization were at significantly increased risk for future mortality,” reads the study. “In a time when nearly all COVID-19 hospitalizations are preventable this study points to an important and under-investigated sequela of COVID-19 and the corresponding need for prevention.” The research utilized health records from within the University of Florida’s health system, tracking the recoveries of those infected whether severe or asymptomatic. 13,638 people’s experiences were taken into account.

The study comes less than six months after research published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine deduced that patients who recover from COVID-19 hospitalization are more likely to be hospitalized again six months after infection. Both studies are part of ongoing research into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19, widely detected in the United States last year.

“We conducted a previous study that showed that patients with severe Covid-19 who recovered were at significantly greater risk of being hospitalised in the subsequent six months,” said lead author on the study, Professor Arch G. Mainous III. “This new study extended that to investigate mortality risk over the next 12 months.” 

Mainous added, “Since we now know that there is a substantial risk of dying from what would likely be considered to be an unrecognised complication of COVID-19, we need to be even more vigilant in decreasing severe episodes of COVID-19. Taking your chances and hoping for successful treatment in the hospital doesn’t convey the full picture of the impact of COVID-19. Our recommendation at this point is to use preventive measures, such as vaccination, to prevent severe episodes of COVID-19.”