Long COVID, a condition characterized by persistent symptoms lasting at least three months after a COVID-19 infection, has become a subject of concern and research worldwide. Recent data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) sheds light on the prevalence of long COVID among children and adults in the United States. This article examines the key findings of the study and provides an in-depth analysis of the data.
The data analysis revealed that long COVID is relatively rare among children in the United States. Only an estimated 1.3% of children in the country had ever experienced long COVID in 2022, with 0.5% of children currently experiencing persistent symptoms. It is important to note that these estimates were based on parental interviews and accounted for children with either a positive COVID-19 test or a doctor’s diagnosis. The findings indicate that long COVID is more prevalent among older children, with those in the 12-17 age group being more likely to experience persistent symptoms compared to younger children.
The study also revealed variations in the prevalence of long COVID based on demographic factors. Among children, girls were slightly more likely to have ever experienced long COVID compared to boys. However, the difference in the current prevalence of long COVID between girls and boys was not statistically significant. Additionally, the study highlighted racial disparities, with Hispanic children having the highest prevalence of long COVID, followed by white and Asian children. Black children had the lowest prevalence of long COVID among racial groups.
Among adults in the United States, 6.9% had ever experienced long COVID, and 3.4% were currently experiencing persistent symptoms. The data indicated higher prevalence among women compared to men. In terms of age groups, adults between the ages of 35-49 had the highest prevalence of long COVID, while adults aged 65 and older had the lowest prevalence. Similar to the findings among children, Asian adults had the lowest prevalence compared to Black, white, and Hispanic adults.
The study also explored the association between long COVID prevalence and socioeconomic factors. Adults with higher incomes and those living in large central metropolitan areas showed lower prevalence rates for both ever and current long COVID. These findings may suggest that access to medical care and resources play a role in the persistence of COVID-19 symptoms.
The data briefs from the CDC’s NCHS provide valuable insights into the prevalence of long COVID among children and adults in the United States. The findings indicate that long COVID is relatively rare among children, particularly those under the age of 12. Among adults, women and middle-aged individuals showed higher prevalence rates. Moreover, socioeconomic factors such as income and geographic location appear to be associated with the prevalence of long COVID. Understanding these patterns can inform public health efforts to support those affected by long COVID and develop targeted interventions to manage and treat this condition. Continued research is essential to further explore the long-term effects of COVID-19 and develop strategies for the prevention and management of long COVID.