Dr. Allison P. Navis, a neuro-infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City who was not involved in the study, said that about 75 percent of her 200 post-Covid patients were experiencing issues like “depression, anxiety, irritability or some mood symptoms.”
Participants in the study were overwhelmingly white, and 70 percent were women. Dr. Navis and others said that the lack of diversity quite likely reflected the demographics of people able to seek care relatively early in the pandemic rather than the full spectrum of people affected by post-Covid neurological symptoms.
“Especially in New York City, the majority of patients who got sick with Covid are people of color and Medicaid patients, and that’s absolutely not the patients one sees at the post-Covid center,” Dr. Navis said. “The majority of patients are white, often they have private insurance, and I think we have to figure out a little bit more what’s going on there with those disparities — if it’s purely just a lack of access or are symptoms being dismissed in people of color or if it’s something else.”
In the Northwestern study, Dr. Koralnik said that because coronavirus testing was difficult to obtain early in the pandemic, only half of the participants had tested positive for the coronavirus, but all had the initial physical symptoms of Covid-19. The study found very little difference between those who had tested positive and those who had not. Dr. Koralnik said that those who tested negative tended to contact the clinic about a month later in the course of the disease than those who tested positive, possibly because some had spent weeks being evaluated or trying to have their problems addressed by other doctors.
Ms. Khan was among the participants who had a negative test for the virus, but she said she later tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, proof that she had been infected.
Another study participant, Eddie Palacios, 50, a commercial real estate broker who lives in Naperville, a Chicago suburb, tested positive for the coronavirus in the fall, experiencing only a headache and loss of taste and smell. But “a month later, things changed,” he said.