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New research has found that as many as four million people could be out of work in the U.S. due to long Covid, making up around 2.4 percent of the country’s working population. Similar conclusions about the severity of long Covid have been reached abroad, with one survey finding that one in four UK companies have cited the symptoms as a main cause of long-term staff absence.
Long Covid is the name for the ill effects that someone can experience after having contracted the virus, in the weeks or even months after. Still not fully understood, it can manifest itself in symptoms of insomnia, headaches, changes to taste or smell, brain fog, problems with digestion and respiratory systems and much more.
But who is getting long Covid? According to data collected by the National Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14.8 percent of U.S. citizens said they have had long Covid at some point. Women were significantly more likely to have had it, with an 18.2 percent positive response rate versus only 11.3 percent of men. As our chart shows, the age group 40-49, followed by the 30-39 group and closely trailed by the 50-59 group, were also more likely to have experienced the symptoms.
The survey also revealed a snapshot of who has long Covid in the U.S. right now. Between July 27 and August 8 of this year, 7.6 percent of U.S. adults said they were experiencing long Covid. The data mirrors the wider scope shown in our chart, with women showing higher rates than men, with 9.5 percent of U.S. adults versus 5.6 percent, respectively. The 40-49 year olds again had the highest share, this time of 10.1 percent, followed by 9 percent of people aged 50-59 and 8.3 percent of 30-39 year olds.
The data also indicates that Hispanic or Latino communities are more likely to experience the symptoms, with 19.9 percent out of all U.S. adults that have ever had long Covid symptoms, which is above the national average of 14.8 percent. According to news site Stat, researchers and health care clinics say any disparities in the treatment of long Covid could be for similar reasons that caused certain racial and ethnic groups to have experienced higher infection rates and illness severity, stating: “Many vulnerable communities lack access to quality care, or face heightened burdens to convince providers that their conditions are real.”
This chart shows which groups are more likely to experience long Covid in the U.S.
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