The recently released 2022 National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics has provided crucial insights into the prevalence of long COVID in the United States.
The findings reveal that approximately 18 million Americans reported experiencing long COVID at some point, with 8.8 million indicating they currently have the condition.
Long COVID, also known as post COVID condition (PCC), is characterized by persistent or newly emerging symptoms following an initial acute COVID-19 infection. These symptoms endure for a period ranging from 4 to 12 weeks after the initial infection.
Surprisingly, while COVID-19 tends to be more severe in older individuals, adults between the ages of 35 and 49 were the most likely demographic to have experienced (8.9%) or currently be experiencing (4.7%) long COVID.
In contrast, adults aged 65 and older were the least likely to report having had long COVID, with only 4.1% indicating they had experienced the condition.
Gender differences were also observed in long COVID cases. Women were more likely than men to have ever had long COVID (8.5% compared to 5.2%) and were also more likely to currently have the condition (4.4% compared to 2.3%). This trend aligns with findings from previous studies on long COVID prevalence.
The survey also offered the first estimates of long COVID in children, based on responses provided by parents. Out of 7,464 children included in the study, girls were slightly more likely than boys to have ever experienced Long COVID (1.6% compared to 0.9%). In 2022, 1.3% of US children had ever had long COVID, and 0.5% were currently experiencing it.
It’s worth noting that as of December 2022, approximately 91.9% of children were found to have antibodies indicating a previous COVID-19 infection, according to the survey.
These findings highlight the significant impact of long COVID across various demographics in the United States.