Nearly 1 in 14 US adults have had long Covid

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A new federal survey finds that one in every 14 American adults has suffered from long-term Covid.

According to the 2022 National Health Interview Survey, about 7% of adults have ever had long-term COVID and more than 3% still have it.

The survey, published on Tuesday as a NCHS Data BriefIt also found that certain groups are more likely to develop long COVID — women, young adults, the less wealthy and people living in rural areas or small towns.

The survey found that children are very unlikely to develop the syndrome. Just over 1% of all US children have ever had long-term COVID, and about half that percentage continue to have it.

Long Covid involves a different set of symptoms that affect different parts of the body.

These symptoms may include “brain fog”, chronic fatigue, persistent cough, heart palpitations, headaches, difficulty sleeping, depression or anxiety.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said researchers are in the dark about long-lived COVID and how many people are actually suffering prolonged symptoms.

“We’re really still scratching the surface when it comes to long-term COVID,” Adalja said. “We are still using very blunt instruments and definitions and lack diagnostic testing.”

It is thought that long-term COVID symptoms vary between people because of the different ways in which the coronavirus attacks different organ systems in the body – for example the brain versus the heart. vs lungs.

Adalja said, “It may be the case that Long COVID, which is a broad term, represents many different conditions. There are some hypotheses about the cause that are currently being investigated, but there are many What we don’t know.”

“We have some general ideas about who is at greater risk and some associations with some blood markers, but it will take some time for science and medicine to have a clear understanding of what is a very vague condition,” he said. ”

For the survey, the US National Center for Health Statistics surveyed more than 27,600 adults and 7,400 children across the country. Adults and children were asked if they had any symptoms lasting three months or longer that they did not have before their COVID infection.

Among adults, the survey found that:

  • Women were more likely than men to have long-term COVID (9% vs. 5%) or to currently have (4% vs. 2%)
  • Adults aged 35-49 were most likely to have had long-term COVID (9%) or currently (5%), while those 18 to 34 (7% and 3%), 50-64 ( compared to adults with 8% and 4%). , and 65 and over (4% and 2%)
  • Hispanic and white Americans were more likely to develop long COVID than Asian or black Americans
  • Rich families were less likely to have a member suffer from Covid for a long time compared to middle-class and poor families

The survey also found that adults living in large cities were less likely to report having long-term COVID than those living in rural areas or small towns — about 6% compared with about 8%. %.

“I think it’s an interesting finding in terms of metropolitan size having some association with longer COVID survival,” Adalja said. “I’m curious what this marker is for [timing of infection, timing of vaccination, presence of co-morbidities],

However, Adalja said he was “not surprised by the fact that long-term COVID is less common in children.”

The survey of children found that 12-17 year olds were more likely to report having long-term COVID than younger children, about 2% compared to 1%. Like women, girls were more likely than boys to develop long COVID.

Vaccination has been shown to protect against long-term COVID, Adalja said.

“Data exist that show long COVID is more common in people who were not vaccinated when they contracted COVID,” Adalja said. “This is one reason why everyone should be vaccinated, even if they are not in the risk group for severe COVID.”

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