One7.5% of US adults — about 20 million people — are currently living with persistent COVID symptoms, according to new federal data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
That finding, drawn from the Household Pulse Survey conducted in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, is based on self-reported data from approximately 62,000 U.S. adults surveyed in June. More than 40% of respondents said they had previously had COVID-19. And about a fifth of these people said they still had Long-lasting COVID symptoms, defined as new health problems – like fatigue, cognitive problems, shortness of breath, chest pain, etc. – lasts at least three months after infection.
Although there is no single sign of long-term COVID, many long book lovers reported extreme fatigue and depression after physical activity, cognitive dysfunction, neurological problems, and chronic pain, among other health problems.
In the NCHS survey, long-term COVID prevalence rates varied quite a bit by demographic. As other studies have suggested, women are more likely than men reported current Long COVID symptoms: 9.4% had the disease, compared with 5.5% of men.
Prevalence also varies by race, sex, and sex. About 9% of Hispanic adults reported persistent symptoms, followed by 7.5% of white adults, nearly 7% of black adults, and nearly 4% of Asian adults. Notably, an estimated 15% of transgender adults have current Long COVID symptoms, according to the report. About 12% of bisexual adults have Long COVID symptoms, compared with about 7% of straight, gay, or lesbian adults.
Contrary to previous research from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), younger adults are more likely to report persistent COVID symptoms than older adults. Adults aged 50 to 59 are three times more likely to say they have symptoms than adults aged 80 and older.
Finally, geography seems to play a role. Long-term COVID prevalence is highest in Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Dakota; In all four states, about 12% of adults reported symptoms. While the NCHS survey could not determine why those states had longer COVID rates than others, they all had relatively low vaccination rates. Previous research has found that Vaccination reduces the risk of developing long-term COVID after infection.
Researchers are still trying to determine why some people get long COVID and exactly how popular it is. Previous prevalence estimates varied widely between studies, ranging from 5% to 30% or more. The NCHS survey helps clarify how many people in the United States are currently suffering from post-COVID complications.
However, its estimates may still be low. For one thing, it doesn’t include children, who can also develop Long COVID.
And based on antibody testing data, CDC estimates that Nearly 60% of the US population has had COVID-19 since February 2022, and many more infections have been reported since then. In contrast, about 40% of NCHS survey respondents said they had contracted COVID-19, which raises the question of whether some were unknowingly infected – and possibly experiencing lingering COVID symptoms. long without realizing it.
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