Fatigue Symptoms Associated With COVID-19 in Convalescent or Recovered COVID-19 Patients; a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Document Type



Brain and Mind Institute


Background: The prevalence and prognosis of post-acute stage SARS-CoV-2 infection fatigue symptoms remain largely unknown.

Aims: We performed a systematic review to evaluate the prevalence of fatigue in post-recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Method: Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus, trial registries, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Google Scholar were searched for studies on fatigue in samples that recovered from polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnosed COVID-19. English, French, and Spanish studies were included. Meta-analyses were conducted separately for each recruitment setting.

Results: We identified 41 studies with 9,362 patients that recovered from COVID-19. Post-COVID-19 patients self-report of fatigue was higher compared to healthy controls (risk ratio (RR) = 3.688, 95%CI [2.502, 5.436], p < .001). Over 50% of patients discharged from inpatient care reported symptoms of fatigue during the first (event rate [ER] = 0.517, 95%CI [0.278, 0.749]) and second month following recovery (ER = 0.527, 95%CI [0.337, 0.709]). Ten percent of the community patients reported fatigue in the first-month post-recovery. Patient setting moderated the association between COVID-19 recovery and fatigue symptoms (R2 = 0.11, p < .001). Female patients recovering from COVID-19 had a greater self-report of fatigue (odds ratio [OR] = 1.782, 95%CI [1.531, 2.870]). Patients recruited through social media had fatigue above 90% across multiple time points. Fatigue was highest in studies from Europe.

Conclusion: Fatigue is a symptom associated with functional challenges which could have economic and social impacts. Developing long-term planning for fatigue management amongst patients beyond the acute stages of SARS-CoV-2 infection is essential to optimizing patient care and public health outcomes. Further studies should examine the impact of sociodemographic, pandemic-related restrictions and pre-existing conditions on fatigue.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Ann Behav Med .