Nearly 20% of Americans who tested positive for the coronavirus are still experiencing “long COVID” symptoms, according to a new study shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday.
Data collected from June 1 to June 13 by the U.S. Census Bureau and analyzed by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics showed that over 40% of U.S. adults said they had contracted COVID at some point during the pandemic. Of those, one in five continue suffering from “long COVID.”
The Household Pulse Survey defined “long COVID” as symptoms a patient was not experiencing before testing positive that lingered for three months or more after the initial infection.
This 20-minute online survey, rolled out in April 2020 to gather information on the state of the pandemic, was updated in June to include questions about post-COVID conditions. The survey showed that several population groups were more likely to experience the lingering symptoms, but didn’t explore possible reasons for those patterns.
Women, for example, had a higher chance of suffering from long-lasting symptoms than men, and older adults were less likely to experience “long COVID” than younger adults.
In addition, nearly 9% of Hispanic adults had “long COVID,” compared with 7.5% of non-Hispanic whites and 6.8% of Black Americans.
The survey also found bisexual and transgender adults are more likely to experience long-haul symptoms than adults of other sexual orientations and identities. Specifically, 12% of bisexual adults are suffering from “long COVID,” compared with 7% of straight, gay and lesbian adults.
The prevalence of “long COVID” also varied by state, with Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and South Dakota among states with the highest percentage of adults with the condition.
In other research, scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of Harvard Medical School found omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are able to evade antibody responses in people who have recovered from COVID, and in vaccinated and boosted people, according to CNN.
While BA.12.2.1 still accounts for the majority of COVID cases in the U.S., BA.4 and BA.5 are spreading, too. BA.5 accounted for 23.5% of total cases, and BA.4 caused 11.4% of cases in the week ending June 18, according to the CDC.
This comes as the U.S. reported 180,033 COVID-19 coronavirus cases and 795 deaths on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Cases may be undercounted because people using at-home COVID tests may not report their results to authorities.