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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

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
21 hours ago - Health

Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot"

The government's top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci said Friday that he "absolutely" will accept the offer from President-elect Joe Biden to serve as his chief medical adviser, telling NBC's "Today" that he said yes "right on the spot."

Why it matters: President Trump had a contentious relationship with Fauci, who has been forced during the pandemic to correct many of the president's false claims about the coronavirus. Biden, meanwhile, has emphasized the importance of "listening to the scientists" throughout his campaign and transition.

11 hours ago - World

UN: "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"

David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme. Photo: Souleymane Ag Anara/AFP via Getty Images

Next year is "going to be catastrophic" in terms of worldwide humanitarian crises, World Food Program executive director David Beasley warned on Friday, per Reuters.

Driving the news: The stark outlook comes as many countries contend with not only the coronavirus pandemic, but also possible famine, economic instability, conflict and other humanitarian crises. A record 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection next year, a nearly 40% increase from 2020, the UN projected earlier this week