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Protracted Covid-19 kills thousands in US, report reveals, but true toll likely much higher


Long-term covid-19 can be deadly, according to new research. In the United States alone, it was responsible for at least 3,544 deaths during the pandemic, but the number could be much higher.

What is prolonged covid and how do you live with it?


(CNN) --

Long-term Covid-19 leaves some people with long-term symptoms, but it can also be deadly.

Protracted Covid-19 was responsible for at least 3,544 deaths in the United States during the first 30 months of the pandemic, according to a new report.

The report represents the first official attempt by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics to quantify the number of deaths from prolonged covid in this country.

Some experts say this finding is likely significantly underreported, considering that up to 30% of people who contract covid-19 have long-term symptoms, according to the CDC.

  • How to know if you have prolonged covid or "long-covid"?

    These are the symptoms to watch out for

The investigation, published this Wednesday, analyzed the death certificates in the National Vital Statistics System from January 2020 to the end of June 2022.

The investigation was difficult because, unlike what happens with diseases such as cancer or diabetes, the US did not have a specific disease code to track long-term covid-19 during that period.

Doctors, coroners, or medical examiners don't fill out death certificates the same way, so researchers had to create a program to review more than a million death certificates for texts.

As there is no set term to describe long-term covid-19, they included several key terms in their search, including “chronic covid”, “long covid” and “post-covid syndrome”.


They found that long-term Covid-19 deaths accounted for less than 0.3% of the 1,021,487 virus-related deaths from January 2020 to June 2022. There were also some commonalities among those who died.

Deaths mostly in older people, whites and males

Most of the people who died from prolonged covid-19 were white, older and male.

Specifically, 78.5% of the deaths occurred among non-Hispanic white people.

Non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 10.1% of deaths, followed by Hispanics at 7.8%.

The highest death rate was among American Indians and non-Hispanic Alaska Natives, at 14.8 per 100,000 people.

Covid-19 deaths are disproportionately reported among people of color, CDC research shows, and the new report notes that more people who identify as black or Hispanic may have died of the initial illness before even who could develop prolonged covid-19.

This may explain some of the racial differences in the new findings.

Studies have also revealed that with increased barriers to care for people of color, some of the deceased may not have been able to see a doctor for an official diagnosis of covid-19, so would be stated on the death certificate, according to the report.

Adults between 75 and 84 years old accounted for 28.8% of deaths from prolonged covid-19, followed by those over 85 years old, with 28.1%, and people between 65 and 74 years old, with a 21.5%, according to the report.

In general, older adults are much more likely to die from covid than younger populations, CDC data shows.

Men accounted for a slightly higher proportion of deaths, 51.5%, which is consistent with other studies according to which being male is associated with a relative risk of developing severe covid-19 1.29 times higher than the relative risk of women. women.

The new report had several limitations, including that the death figures are still provisional and subject to change.

Additionally, race is not always a reliable item on a death certificate, as studies have shown that the race of thousands of Americans is misclassified on their certificates.

And clinical guidance on what constitutes prolonged COVID-19 has changed throughout the pandemic, so death certificates may not fully reflect the condition.

  • Minors can also suffer from prolonged covid-19, and it can present in unexpected ways

The multiple effects of prolonged covid-19

The study is a good start, but it takes a "quite skewed view" of death from long-term COVID, said Dr. David Putrino, director of rehabilitation innovation at Mount Sinai Health System.

"This is clearly data from people who became seriously ill and ended up in the hospital with ongoing organ damage," said Putrino, who works closely with long-Covid patients but was not involved in the new report.

He says the research misses a significant number of people who may have prolonged covid-19 and die as a result.

For example, some studies show that some people who are not hospitalized for an initial infection but suffer from prolonged covid.19 develop heart problems.

According to Putrino, the prolonged covid would not necessarily be reflected in death certificates.

  • Long-term covid-19 can be a chronic (and very expensive) disease for millions of people

"We read every day about previously healthy people getting sick with COVID-19, recovering, and then having a heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism," Putrino said.

This research may also miss people with long-term covid who died by suicide;

the condition would probably not be listed on their death certificates.

"We now know that suicidal thoughts, suicidal acts, suicidal ideation, and completed suicides are occurring across the country in people who were previously healthy, had a less severe acute COVID-19 infection, but then developed very severe post-acute sequelae," he said. putrino.

Putrino is encouraged that the CDC is looking into the question of death from prolonged covid.

"But again, we're going to continue to have these kinds of skewed records unless we educate clinicians that there are many ways that long-term covid can cause death, just like there are many ways that long-term covid can cause death." permanent disability," Putrino said.

prolonged covid

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2022-12-15

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