Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics released the 2022 National Health Interview Survey results, which show that roughly 18 million Americans said they have ever had long COVID, and 8.8 million said they currently have the condition.
Long COVID, or post COVID condition (PCC), is defined by ongoing or new symptoms following an acute COVID-19 infection. Symptoms must be present anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks after initial infection.
In the current survey, 27,651 respondents were asked, "Did you have any symptoms lasting 3 months or longer that you did not have prior to having COVID-19?" The current long-COVID definition was based on the presence of symptoms at the time of interview.
Middle-aged Americans, women most at risk
Though COVID-19 is most severe in older adults, adults ages 35 to 49 were the age-group most likely to ever have had (8.9%) or to currently have (4.7%) long COVID. Adults ages 65 and older were the least likely to ever have had long COVID, with only 4.1% saying they experienced the condition, compared to 8.9% of middle-aged Americans.
Women (8.5%) were more likely than men (5.2%) to ever have had long COVID, and women (4.4%) were also more likely than men (2.3%) to currently have long COVID, a trend that has been seen in other recent studies on long COVID prevalence.
As of December 2022, samples from the Nationwide Blood Donor Seroprevalence Survey show that 77.5% of people ages 16 and up in the United States have antibodies showing a previous COVID-19 infection.
Survey shows 1% of kids have had long COVID
Part of the survey offered the first estimates of long COVID in children based on parent answers in the survey. A total of 7,464 children were included in the study.
Girls (1.6%) were more likely than boys (0.9%) to have ever had Long COVID.
In 2022, 1.3% of US children ever had long COVID, and 0.5% currently had the condition.
"Girls (1.6%) were more likely than boys (0.9%) to have ever had Long COVID. While the percentage of girls who currently have Long COVID (0.6%) was higher than that of boys (0.3%), this difference was not significant," the authors said.
As of December 2022, 91.9% of children had antibodies indicating a previous COVID-19 infection, according to the survey.