Long COVID in the United States
The study titled “Long COVID in the United States,” published in PLOS ONE, used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey to analyze the impact of long COVID on nearly half a million Americans from June to December 2022.
Here are the key findings summarized:
- Prevalence of Long COVID: Approximately 14% of respondents reported experiencing long COVID at some point, with half of these cases being current at the time of the survey. The prevalence varied significantly across the United States, ranging from 11% in Hawaii to 18% in West Virginia.
- Demographic Variations: Long COVID incidence was higher among women compared to men, and more common among White individuals than Black or Asian individuals. It tended to decrease with increasing levels of education and income. The condition was most prevalent in midlife, paralleling trends in negative affect.
- Association with Negative Affect: Long COVID was strongly associated with negative affect, including anxiety, depression, worry, and a lack of interest in activities. This association was most pronounced in those currently experiencing long COVID, especially with severe symptoms. Interestingly, those who reported short-term COVID had higher wellbeing than those who had never contracted the virus.
- Physical and Mental Health Issues: Long COVID was linked to physical mobility problems, difficulties in self-care (like dressing and bathing), and cognitive issues (such as problems with memory and understanding). These issues were more pronounced in individuals currently experiencing long COVID.
- Vaccination and Wellbeing: Vaccination was associated with lower negative affect, even among those who had long COVID. The study also observed little difference in vaccination rates across different COVID states (never had COVID, short COVID, long COVID with or without current symptoms).
- Impact on Daily Life: The study found that compared to those who had never had COVID, individuals with long COVID, particularly those with current symptoms, experienced more significant difficulties in mobility, self-care, memory, concentration, and understanding.