As COVID-19 infection rates continue to fluctuate, medical experts, economists and business leaders are focusing greater attention on Long Covid. A new whitepaper, Long Covid’s Impact on Adult Americans: Early Indicators Estimating Prevalence and Cost uses mathematical models to estimate the magnitude of this public health crisis on national and state levels.
The paper was produced by the Solve Long Covid Initiative. Among the key findings, it is estimated that:
- 22 million U.S. adults are living with Long Covid (LC) – close to 7% of the population.
- 7 million are experiencing Disabling Long Covid (DLC) – 2.3% of the population.
- As of January 2022, the cumulative cost of LC is estimated at more than $386 billion. (This estimate includes lost wages, lost savings and medical expenses incurred by individuals. It does not include costs incurred by businesses or government agencies.)
- California has the highest number of cases of all 50 states, with more than 2.4 million LC cases and 817,000 DLC cases. Cumulative personal financial burden is estimated at $43.2 billion.
- When looking at the proportion of a state’s population that is afflicted, Rhode Island tops the list, with an estimated 9.5% and 3.1% of residents suffering from LC and DLC, respectively.
- Complete state statistics may be found here.
Long Covid symptoms often include persistent pain, fatigue, brain fog, and a worsening of symptoms after even minimal activity. Those experiencing Disabling Long Covid are unable to fully function at their pre-infection level, resulting in disability or reduced ability to work.
“Long Covid’s impact is profound on all facets of life, work and community, and will only intensify in the months and years ahead,” said Oved Amitay, president and CEO, Solve M.E. “We have multiple problems to solve: Employees who are unable to work full-time are facing the loss of health insurance coverage and other vital benefits. Organizations with outdated disability policies must revise them to accommodate the unpredictable nature and lack of timelines for chronic illness recovery. Local, state and federal leaders need to establish effective programs to support people facing these life-changing conditions.”