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Approximately 17 Million American Adults Have Long COVID Right Now


The CDC is collaborating with the Census Bureau, and the National Center for Health Statistics in conducting the Household Pulse Survey.

Post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), or Long COVID, continues to be a difficult and challenging condition for millions of Americans. And according to new survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and being reported by KFF, we have some figures on how many Americans are affected by it.

In fact, there are an estimated 17 million American adults who currently have Long COVID. According to the Census Bureau, there are 258 million American adults, and in the latest CDC Household Pulse Survey, 6.7% of respondents say they have Long COVID right now. The National Center for Health Statistics data suggest approximately 3 in 10 report having Long COVID at some point, and roughly 1 in 10 report having long COVID now.1

These figures come from the CDC’s Household Pulse Survey. The CDC has an ongoing partnership with the Census Bureau, and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and they have included select health-related questions as part of the Household Pulse Survey.

Other interesting survey data includes the breakdown of Long COVID in terms of location, sex, age group, race, and education.

Location

In the most recent survey that covers the period between February 6 to March 4, 2024, people across the states were asked if they were “currently experiencing Long COVID” and as a percentage of all adults, Vermont ranked the highest with 10.4%, and a nearby New England state, Rhode Island, ranked last with 4.4%. In reviewing the survey data, there are just a few states where there are clusters of Long COVID considered in the highest bracket (7.7% to 10.4%). The neighboring states of Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma are in this highest bracket, as well as Nevada and Utah are also in the highest brackets.2

Sex

There was a marked difference between male, female, and transgender, with the last group having the highest percentage. When asked if they “Ever experienced long COVID, as a percentage of all adults,” 21.1% who identified as cisgender female said they experienced the condition; 14.9% who identified as cisgender male; and 26% who identified as transgender had experienced Long COVID.2

Age Group

When asked if they “Ever experienced long COVID, as a percentage of all adultsthe highest percentage of people with Long COVID were in the 40- to 49-years old range (20.3%), and the lowest was 80 years and above (9.9%). Aside from that major difference all the other age groups were in the mid-to-high teens in terms of percentage, for the exception of the 70-to 79-years old age range, which was the second lowest percentage (11.3%).2

Race

When asked if they, “Ever experienced long COVID, as a percentage of all adultsthe highest percentage of people with Long COVID identified as Non-Hispanic, other races, and multiple races at 22.2%. The next highest group identified as Hispanic or Latino at 20.9% The lowest group was Non-Hispanic Asian, single race at 11.0%. Non-Hispanic Black, single race was 14.9%, and Non-Hispanic White, single race was 17%.2

Education

When asked if they, “Ever experienced long COVID, as a percentage of all adultsthe highest percentage of people with Long COVID said they had Some college/Associate’s degree at 20.6%. The lowest group was Bachelor’s degree or higher at 15.1%.2

The CDC’s Household Pulse Survey is an ongoing project.

To learn more about the respondent data, interested readers can visit their website by clicking the link below.

CDC Household Pulse Survey

Very recently, Contagion spoke with Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, a board-certified internist in integrative medicine and a nationally known expert with more than 35 years of experience in chronic fatigue syndrome and post-viral conditions, who offered valuable insights into Long COVID. “The symptoms are varied and can be due to multiple underlying causes. It’s not sufficient to treat everyone for a single issue, says Teitelbaum. “It’s crucial to differentiate among the various conditions that could be contributing to the patient’s symptoms.”

Watch the video below to hear more of Teitlbaum’s perspective.

References
1.Burns A. As Recommendations for Isolation End, How Common is Long COVID? KFF. April 9, 2024. Accessed April 11, 2024.
https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/as-recommendations-for-isolation-end-how-common-is-long-covid/

2. Long COVID Household Pulse Survey. CDC. Last Reviewed: March 21, 2024. Accessed April 11, 2024.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/covid19/pulse/long-covid.htm



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