Long Covid clinical picture

Symptoms, causes, risk factors and numbers from studies

Acute Covid-19 disease

Covid-19 is a disease caused by the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which has been globally pandemic since late 2019.

The acute course of the disease, which lasts up to 4 weeks, affects the respiratory system in particular and, according to the Robert Koch-Institute, can be divided into four degrees of severity:

  • Mild progression: no or only mild, flu-like symptoms
  • Moderate progression: slight pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs), often without the need for in-patient treatment.
  • Severe progression: hospitalisation usually necessary, often intensive care, with oxygen dependency and respiratory insufficiency or other complications.
  • Critical progression: most severe progression requiring intensive care with need for respiratory support, often extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), multiple organ failure and hyperinflammatory syndrome.

Long-term effects of Covid-19

Unlike the acute progression, there is still no uniform medical definition for the phase following the end or remission of the acute illness, although there are a number of proposals. The terms Long Covid & Post Covid are commonly used, but sometimes with different definitions.

As the largest private provider of inpatient rehabilitation in Germany, MEDIAN has been caring for patients who have survived a Covid-19 infection since the start of the pandemic. Below, we therefore present our approach to defining the terms Long Covid and Post Covid. Practice has shown this distinction between the two to be very useful.

What is Post Covid?

At MEDIAN, the term Post Covid is used to refer to symptoms, limitations and health disorders that exist immediately following the convalescence phase (usually up to 12 weeks after the onset of the disease), mostly after a severe or critical progression of the disease. However, this period can be considerably longer and even last for several months, depending on the severity of the acute illness. You can find MEDIAN's offers of rehabilitation for Post Covid here.

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What is Long Covid?

Long Covid describes a broad spectrum of symptoms and health disorders that occur during the course of the disease or some time (in some patients not earlier than 12 weeks) after the original illness, which has since been overcome. What is characteristic here is that the acute progression was often mild or moderate and/or there was a phase of temporary recovery. Long Covid usually presents with clusters of symptoms, often overlapping, that can fluctuate and change over time and can affect any system in the body.

Notes on the definition of Post Covid and Long Covid

The distinction between Post Covid and Long Covid is less strictly based on the chronological course of the disease, but rather on the distinction between two different clinical pictures. One describes protracted convalescence after an initially mostly severe illness. The other is a long-term impairment or an impairment that occurs over the progression of the disease after it is initially mild or has subsided.


Long Covid clinical picture

Symptoms of Long Covid

Overview of the most common symptoms of Long Covid

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Long Covid clinical picture

Studies into the long-term effects of Covid-19

Overview of studies on the long-term effects of Covid-19.

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Long Covid clinical picture

Possible causes and risk factors of Long Covid

What are possible risk factors?

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