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Study suggests COVID-19 long prevalent, risk varies by population


The findings support the potential protective association of vaccination in reducing long COVID, although it does not appear to eliminate the risk.

The results of a recent study suggest that long COVID is very common, although the risk varies by subgroup and vaccination may reduce this risk.

According to the study published by JAMA. The World Health Organization has defined long COVID as usually occurring 3 months after the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms lasting at least 2 months.

Prevalence estimates vary widely due to variability in definition and sampling frame. A self-report symptom follow-up study with 4182 people found symptom persistence rates of 13.3% at 1 month and 4.5% at 2 months. Additionally, a UK study of 20,000 people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 found that 13.7% reported persistence of symptoms at 12 weeks based on a single question. investigation.

To dig deeper into these questions, the researchers included data collected from 8 waves of the COVID States project, a large-scale online survey conducted for a university consortium approximately every 6 weeks between February 5, 2021 and July 6, 2022, including all 50 states. and the District of Columbia. Participants were 18 years of age or older and resided in the United States.

Without reweighting the survey sample, investigators found that the 16,091 survey respondents reporting test-confirmed COVID-19 at least 2 months previously had an average age of 40.5, 62.6 % were female, 5.1% were Asian, 11.3% were black, 9.6 years old. % were Hispanic and 71% were white. Of this cohort, 14.7% reported persistent symptoms of COVID-19 more than 2 months after acute illness.

The researchers then reweighted the sample to reflect national socio-demographic distributions and found that those meeting the criteria for long COVID represented 13.9% of those who had tested positive for COVID-19, including 12.6% of Asian adults, 9.7% black adults, 15.3% Hispanic adults, and 15.5% white adults.

In a reweighted analysis of all survey participants to estimate the proportion of the US adult population who met the criteria for current long COVID, these individuals represented 1.7% of US adults, of which 1.3% were male. , 2% female, 0.7% Asian. adults, 1% of black adults, 2% of Hispanic adults and 1.8% of white adults.

The investigators then examined the association of the predominant variant at the time of infection and vaccination before acute illness with long COVID risk. Compared to ancestral COVID-19, infection during times when the Epsilon or Omicron variant was predominant was associated with a reduced likelihood of long COVID.

Additionally, completion of the primary vaccine series prior to acute illness was associated with a lower risk of long COVID. However, partial vaccination was not associated with a significant risk reduction in the fully adjusted models.

Taken together, the results provide an estimate of the average point prevalence of long COVID in a large representative sample of the population of individuals in the United States. The authors said the results support the potential protective association of vaccination in reducing long-term COVID risk, although it does not appear to eliminate the risk. If confirmed in prospective studies, the findings may help facilitate risk stratification, with the aim of early intervention to minimize the effect of long COVID.


Perlis R, Santillana M, Ognyanova K, et al. Prevalence and correlates of long COVID symptoms in American adults. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(10):e2238804. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.38804. Accessed November 14, 2022.