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BACKGROUND: Most studies of long COVID (symptoms of COVID-19 infection beyond 4 weeks) have focused on people hospitalized in their initial illness. Long COVID is thought to be underrecorded in UK primary care electronic records. OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine which symptoms people present to primary care after COVID-19 infection and whether presentation differs in people who were not hospitalized, as well as post-long COVID mortality rates. METHODS: We used routine data from the nationally representative primary care sentinel cohort of the Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre (N=7,396,702), applying a predefined long COVID phenotype and grouped by whether the index infection occurred in hospital or in the community. We included COVID-19 infection cases from March 1, 2020, to April 1, 2021. We conducted a before-and-after analysis of long COVID symptoms prespecified by the Office of National Statistics, comparing symptoms presented between 1 and 6 months after the index infection matched with the same months 1 year previously. We conducted logistic regression analysis, quoting odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs. RESULTS: In total, 5.63% (416,505/7,396,702) and 1.83% (7623/416,505) of the patients had received a coded diagnosis of COVID-19 infection and diagnosis of, or referral for, long COVID, respectively. People with diagnosis or referral of long COVID had higher odds of presenting the prespecified symptoms after versus before COVID-19 infection (OR 2.66, 95% CI 2.46-2.88, for those with index community infection and OR 2.42, 95% CI 2.03-2.89, for those hospitalized). After an index community infection, patients were more likely to present with nonspecific symptoms (OR 3.44, 95% CI 3.00-3.95; P

Original publication




Journal article


JMIR public health and surveillance

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