The percentage of Americans who report currently experiencing symptoms of long COVID-19 is declining, according to survey data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Household Pulse Survey found that 11% of adults who ever had COVID-19 reported experiencing symptoms of the condition as of mid-January. That’s down from more than 13% of previously infected adults reporting active symptoms of long COVID in mid-November and nearly 15% in mid-October.
While the rates are declining, the number of Americans experiencing long COVID remains in the millions. Extended to the U.S. population, the survey’s results mean that more than 15 million adult Americans are currently experiencing symptoms of long COVID.
Of adults experiencing long COVID-19, nearly 80% report reduced ability to carry out day-to-day activities. More than 26% characterize their limitations as significant.
The survey defined long COVID as symptoms lasting three months or longer that a person did not have prior to coronavirus infection, including “tiredness or fatigue, difficulty thinking, concentrating, forgetfulness, or memory problems (sometimes referred to as ‘brain fog’), difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, joint or muscle pain, fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations), chest pain, dizziness on standing, menstrual changes, changes to taste/smell, or inability to exercise.”
The data adds to growing evidence that long COVID is impacting the U.S. workforce. A report from the New York State Insurance Fund published this week found that of 3,000 workers’ compensation claims related to the coronavirus, 31% reported suffering from long COVID. The percentage has “fallen sharply” over time as more Americans got vaccinated, according to the report.
“If broadly reflective, these findings begin to fill information gaps about the labor market, including an underappreciated reason for the many unfilled jobs and the declining labor participation rate since the emergence of the pandemic,” the report stated.