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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Recovering from the coronavirus does not necessarily mean you'll bounce back to your old, pre-infection self: Most people who survived a severe infection were still dealing with some combination of physical, emotional and financial pain weeks later.

Driving the news: That's the conclusion from researchers who tracked more than 1,600 people who were hospitalized for coronavirus infections in Michigan. Their findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

By the numbers: Roughly 24% of those 1,600 patients died in the hospital. Another 6% died within 60 days of being discharged.

  • Researchers were able to track down 488 survivors to see how they were doing 60 days after getting out of the hospital. Roughly a third of those patients were experiencing symptoms such as a cough or long-term loss of taste and smell.
  • Roughly half said their health had affected their emotional well-being, and about 36% said their illness had been a financial setback.

Getting back to work was also a struggle: Among patients who were employed before they got sick, 40% said they had lost their jobs or couldn't go back for health reasons.

  • And a quarter of those who did return to work said their hours had been cut or their responsibilities modified.

Why it matters: The coronavirus can wreak havoc on your health and your life even if it doesn't kill you — which also means that looking only at the death rate is not a good way to take the full measure of this pandemic.

  • Coronavirus hospitalizations are surging right now, all across the country.

The bottom line: The best way to minimize the number of people who suffer these long-term effects would be to minimize the number of people who have the coronavirus — which the U.S. is not doing.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.