Long COVID remains an unexplainable condition, and even though the latest data shows a decrease in active cases, it’s still too early to celebrate.
Based on a recent U.S. Census Bureau survey, the number of U.S. adults suffering from long COVID has shrunk to 6%. This is a significant decrease compared to the more than 15% reported at one point amid the pandemic, CBS News reported.
In March, data from Household Pulse Survey showed 11% of American adults battling long COVID, with Hispanics and transgender people among the worst hit by the condition. The data presented at the time was collected during the first two weeks of March.
The previous survey also indicated which states had the highest prevalence of long COVID. West Virginia (40.7%), New Mexico (37.9%), Wyoming (37.9%), Mississippi (35%) and South Carolina (33.9%) recorded the highest number of cases at the time, according to U.S. News & World Report.
In an interview with CBS News on Monday, Dr. Jodie Guest, a professor and vice chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, addressed the new survey data.
“Hopefully, that’s because COVID cases have been down, which is a great sign for us to be looking for. But what we know is we still have about 28% of people who have had COVID who are experiencing symptoms of long COVID,” she said.
Guest also pointed out that the number remains high regardless of what the new survey data showed. Hence, long COVID is still a big issue for people struggling with lingering symptoms that could disrupt their daily lives.
She admitted that it’s hard to box long COVID because of its varying and often vague signs and symptoms. But the most common tend to be tiredness or fatigue, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
Globally, numerous efforts and multinational surveys have determined a large number of people recovering from COVID-19 only to suffer from long-term symptoms later on. Long COVID is also believed to be affecting more people than what’s being reported.
Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies and the medical community are more concerned about COVID-19 than its post-acute syndrome. Salon warned that the mysterious condition could be a ticking time bomb for public health since a broad-scale investigation into its origin is being postponed or neglected altogether.
Since long COVID is still hard to diagnose and understand, Guest said having a solid support system goes a long way for its sufferers. Acknowledging the existence of the condition is important for people who have it because of skepticism.
“I think one of the biggest things is to acknowledge that it does exist. And they are a lot of good support groups out there now for people suffering from long COVID, and just having someone say, ‘We hear you, and yes, this is a real thing’ — it goes a very long way to healthy people who are suffering from it,” she said.