PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Researchers are learning new details about the long-term effects of COVID-19. A new study shows COVID-19 "long haulers" have a significantly higher chance of dying months after their infection.
"Really tells us that the death toll from COVID-19 is actually probably much higher," said Dr. Shad Marvasti with the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
About 59% of survivors have an increased risk of developing severe complications and dying within six months of getting the virus, according to researchers out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
"These people wouldn't have died if they didn't have complications related to the damage that COVID caused in different systems in their body, leading to blood clots, heart attack," said Dr. Marvasti.
The study also shows COVID long haulers are dealing with increased anxiety and depression. Researchers found some people who developed long-term symptoms showed increased medication use, including anti-depressants and pain killers.
"Requiring more pain medication in these long haulers because of chronic pain issues, to the point of opioids, is definitely a concern," said Marvasti.