Background: The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to constitute an international public health concern. Few data are available on the duration and prognostic factors of the disease. We aimed to study the recovery time among a Tunisian cohort of COVID-19 confirmed patients and identify the prognostic factors.
Methods: A retrospective, nationwide study was conducted from March 2 to May 8, 2020, recruiting all patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19, by RT-PCR methods, in Tunisia. Data were collected via phone call interview. Kaplan-Meir Methods and Cox proportional hazards regression models were, respectively, used to study the recovery time and estimate its prognostic factors.
Results: One thousand and thirty patients with COVID-19 (aged 43.2 ± 18.2 years, 526 female (51.1%)) were enrolled. Among them 141 (14.8%) were healthcare professionals. Out of 173 patients (17.8%) admitted to the hospital, 47 were admitted in an intensive care unit. Among 827 patients who didn’t require specialized care, 55.5% were self-isolated at home, while the rest were in specialized centers. Six hundred and two patients were symptomatic. A total of 634 (61.6 %) patients have recovered and 45 (4.4 %) patients died. The median duration of illness was estimated to be 31 days (95% CI: [29 - 32]). Older age (HR=0.66, CI:[ 0.46-0.96], P=0.031) and symptoms (HR=0.61, CI:[ 0.43-0.81], P=0.021) were independently associated with a delay in recovery time. Being a healthcare professional (HR=1.52, CI :[1.10-2.08], P=0.011) and patients in home isolation compared to isolation centers (HR=2.99, CI :[1.85-4.83], P<10¯³) were independently associated with faster recovery time.
Conclusion: The duration of illness was estimated to be one month. However, this long estimated duration of illness may not equate to infectiousness. A particular attention must to be paid to elderly and symptomatic patients with closer monitoring.