Nearly 1 in 5 Adults Who Had COVID Have Lingering Symptoms: US Study

By Reuters Staff

June 24, 2022

(Reuters) - Nearly 1 in 5 American adults in a survey who reported having COVID-19 in the past are still having symptoms of long COVID, according to data collected in the first two weeks of June, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday.

Overall, an estimated 1 in 13 adults in the United States have long COVID symptoms lasting for three months or more after first contracting the disease, and which they did not have before the infection, the data suggests.

The data was collected using an online questionnaire from June 1-13 by the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, and analyzed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Long COVID symptoms range from fatigue, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, cognitive difficulties, chronic pain, sensory abnormalities and muscle weakness. They can be debilitating and last for weeks or months after recovery from the initial infection.

The CDC analysis also found that younger adults were more likely to report persistent symptoms than older adults.

Women were also more likely to report long COVID than men, according to the study, with 9.4% of U.S. adult women reporting long COVID symptoms compared to 5.5% of men.

The survey found nearly 9% of Hispanic adults reported long COVID, higher than non-Hispanic white and Black adults, and more than twice the percentage of non-Hispanic Asian adults.

There were also differences based on U.S states, with the highest percentage of adults reporting long COVID symptoms in Kentucky and Alabama, while Hawaii, Maryland and Virginia had the lowest.

Among the experimental survey's limitations, the CDC cautions in technical notes, is that the percentage of adults who self-report ever having had COVID-19 is lower than estimates based on national seroprevalence studies. The survey also relies on online responses, and had a low (6.2%) response rate.

SOURCE: Household Pulse Survey Dashboard, online June 22, 2022.