Reports of ‘Long COVID’ continue to rise, depleting workforce worries local health officials


About 7.5% of U.S. adults — roughly 20 million people — are currently living with Long COVID symptoms, according to new federal data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

King County Health Director Doctor Jeff Duchin says the volume of those with lingering complications will strain America’s health and business systems.

“The Brookings Institution conducted an analysis that suggested that long COVID may be responsible for over one million workers being pout of the labor force at any given time,” Duchin said.

Long COVID, also known as post-COVID conditions (PCC), is when someone previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 experiencing long-term effects from their infection. Many patients with Long COVID report extreme fatigue and crashes after physical activity, cognitive dysfunction, neurological issues, and chronic pain, among other health problems.

“This is an area that hasn’t, in my opinion, gotten enough attention,” Duchin said. “Up to 23 million Americans may be affected, and this translates to tens of thousands, at least, of King County residents who may be affected by long COVID.”

A new federal report says nearly one out of every five American adults who have been infected with the virus are still suffering from symptoms. The same federal study finds women, young adults, and Latinos are most likely to suffer from long COVID.

“We are accumulating people who have chronic health conditions post-COVID that will require care, and our health care systems need to be able to plan for that to accommodate the complexities of these patients and the volume of these patients,” Duchin said.

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