According to the 2022 federal National Health Interview Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of long Covid varies across different age groups. The survey revealed that 9% of US adults aged 35 to 49 reported having long Covid at some point, with 4.7% currently experiencing symptoms. This age range was the most affected by the condition.
Among adults aged 50 to 64, 7.4% reported ever having long Covid, while 3.8% currently had the syndrome. For those aged 65 and older, 4.2% had long Covid at some point, and 2.3% currently had it. The youngest adults, up to age 34, reported a prevalence of 6.8% for ever having long Covid, with 2.7% currently affected.
The survey also highlighted that approximately 25% of adults currently reporting long Covid experience significant activity limitations. This proportion has not changed in the past year. These findings emphasize the importance of Covid prevention measures, such as vaccination, and the need for healthcare service planning and support for individuals experiencing severe activity limitations from long Covid.
Long Covid is characterized by a wide range of symptoms, including post-exertional malaise, fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, gastrointestinal symptoms, heart palpitations, changes in desire or capacity for sex, loss of smell or taste, excessive thirst, chronic cough, chest pain, and abnormal movements.
The root cause of long Covid has not been definitively established, but researchers are exploring possible explanations. It is crucial for individuals to continue receiving Covid-19 vaccinations, as research indicates that vaccines can lower the risk of post-Covid conditions, including long Covid.
Studies have also found specific long-term conditions associated with coronavirus infections among children and adults. Among children and adolescents, Covid-19 infection was linked to an increased risk of heart conditions, kidney failure, blood clots, diabetes, fatigue, smell and taste disorders, and neurological conditions. Among adults with Covid-19, one in five reported health conditions possibly related to their illness, such as neurological or mental health conditions, kidney failure, blood clots, and musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, or respiratory conditions.
A prospective study revealed that around 16% of adults who had acute Covid-19-like illness continued to experience ongoing symptoms at 12 months. In military veterans, long Covid conditions decreased after 90 days but carried an increased risk of new conditions persisting for up to two years after the acute illness.
– National Health Interview Survey, 2022
– CDC study published in August
– Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer
– Dr. Nava Yeganeh, medical director of L.A. County’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Control Program