Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading worldwide two years after its outbreak. Depression has been reported in around 30% of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. We aim to synthesize the available meta-analytical evidence in an umbrella review exploring the prevalence of depression during and after SARS-CoV-2 infection.Methods: First, we performed a narrative umbrella review including only meta-analyses providing a quantitative summary of the prevalence of depression during or after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Then we extracted the prevalence and sample size from the original studies included in each meta-analysis, and after removing duplicate studies, we performed a random-effects model meta-analysis based on single original study estimates. Heterogeneity, publication bias, leave-one-out sensitivity, and subgroup analyses were performed.Results: 14 meta-analyses were included in the umbrella review. The prevalence of depression ranged from 12% to 55% in the presence of high heterogeneity. The meta-analysis based on 85 original studies derived from the included 14 meta-analyses showed a pooled prevalence of depression of 31% (95% CI:25-38%) in the presence of high and significant heterogeneity (Q = 8988; p < 10-6; I2 = 99%) and publication bias (p < 0.001).Conclusion: The burden of post-COVID depression substantially exceeds the pre-pandemic prevalence. Health care services for COVID-19 survivors should monitor and treat emergent depression, reducing its potential detrimental long-term effects.
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