Long Covid -- a mass disabling event

Long COVID Persists as a Mass Disabling Event

— We must do more to show we care

by Karen Bonuck, PhD, Med Page Today, July 23, 2023

The latest CDC data on long COVID in U.S. adults and an alarming World Health Organization (WHO) statementopens in a new tab or window about its long-term impact underscore the pandemic’s lingering and debilitating effects… In fact, the average person loses 21% of their healthopens in a new tab or window while living with long COVID – equivalent to traumatic brain injury…

In the latest CDC dataopens in a new tab or window, just over 15% of U.S. adults ever had long COVID, and 5.8% (about 15 million) currently have it. For a condition that’s fallen off the radar for those untouched by it, the percentages of U.S. adults reporting any (4.9%) and significant (1.5%) activity limitations is astonishing… [end quote]

The rest of the article is aimed at medical treatment. But I would like to point out the Macroeconomic impact of long Covid. A person with significant activity limitations (especially fatigue, a common symptom of long Covid) will be unable to work at a taxing job and may not be able to work at all.

The Labor Force Participation Rate, which was 63.3% in February 2020, is now 62.6%. This includes everyone over age 16, including people who retired after the 2020 Covid recession.

The Labor Force Participation Rate - age 25-54 Yrs. has fully recovered to 83.2%.



According to BioBot (Data on Covid-19 and Mpox Wastewater Monitoring | Biobot Analytics), the wastewater viral load has increased every week since the low point in June, and even this low point was still above the low points of 2022 and 2021. The latest wastewater viral load is at the highest level since this past March.

In other words, everyone’s efforts to kick-start the next surge appears to be coming to fruition.

1 Like

Here’s another report that includes data from several studies.



In the latest CDC data, just over 15% of U.S. adults ever had long COVID, and 5.8% (about 15 million) currently have it. For a condition that’s fallen off the radar for those untouched by it, the percentages of U.S. adults reporting any (4.9%) and significant (1.5%) activity limitations is astonishing…

I wrote about the healthcare hangover of long-haul COVID a while back:


The second point is that with over EIGHTY MILLION Americans infected with one of the COVID variants and these statistically significant “hazard ratios” for complex, dangerous, expensive-to-treat cardiovascular issues, the United States needs to begin planning to fund and staff the effort required to provide long-term treatment for these conditions. Using the “excess burden” number from this study of 45.29 per 1000, America’s population of 80,000,000 (and counting) exposures could lead to 3.6 million new chronic patients requiring ongoing treatments over decades. There’s no “if” involved. Only “when.”


The long haul rate cited in this study of 32% is even higher than the 15% (12 million of 77 million) referenced earlier. These numbers are confirming that a huge population that contracted COVID from any variant faces a potential LIFETIME of future medical issues, many resembling chronic medical burdens already crippling the US in terms of costs and impairment to individual productivity and quality of life. The variety of long haul symptoms points out something more important. While COVID may spread via respiratory means, the disease itself is NOT limited to the respiratory system. It seems to be capable of attacking the kidneys, pancreas, heart and brain. Anyone contracting COVID and “clearing” without immediate signs of respiratory issues is by no means “clear” of the disease.

Here is an old post on the labor hangover from losing nearly 700,000 workers outright to death from COVID and many more due to long-haul covid:


Think about these statistics from a labor market standpoint. Assuming the cases not ending in death only involved a 2 week absence from work, the case quantity means we lost 101 million weeks of labor over two years. For the fatal cases, we LOST 255,683 workers entirely. Think about the impact of long-haul COVID on these numbers. Estimates range that between 14 and 30 percent of people contracting COVID experience long-haul symptoms that range from merely unpleasant to chronic brain fog / fatique / pain. If only 10 percent of the long-haulers are experiencing those extreme symptoms, that could be another .10 x .30 x 50,900,000 or 1,527,000 people not fully present in the labor force.

I’m heavily biased on this particular issue given a family member with long-haul COVID. Patients with long-haul not only lack any CURE for the underlying issues, there are still zero signs of interim treatments being investigated much less clinically tested and approved for alleviating any of the wide variety of impacts that limit patients’ ability to function in life or the workplace.



Long COVID appears to manifest as a post-viral syndrome indistinguishable from seasonal influenza and other respiratory illnesses, with no evidence of increased moderate-to-severe functional limitations a year after infection, according to new research being presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2024) in Barcelona, Spain (27-30 April).

The study by Queensland Health researchers suggests that in the highly vaccinated population of Queensland exposed to the omicron variant, long COVID’s impact on the health system is likely to stem from the sheer number of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 within a short period of time rather than the severity of long COVID symptoms or functional impairment.

The findings add to previous research by the same authors and published in BMJ Public Health, which found no difference in ongoing symptoms and functional impairment when COVID-19 was compared with influenza 12 weeks post-infection.


1 Like

You left out this important part of your linked article:

Rates of long-term COVID-19 in Australia are low due to high vaccination rates upon easing of COVID restrictions and the population’s subsequent exposure to the omicron variant.

In other words, Long Covid is indistinguishable from influenza for those who are vaccinated. That’s because vaccination significantly reduces the likelihood of getting Long COVID.

Your post seems to imply that there is no such thing as Long COVID. In actuality, what your links support is that COVID vaccines largely eliminate Long COVID. Long COVID remains a significant problem for the unvaccinated.


An interesting take. My post was just the first three paragraphs of the medicalxpress article. It didn’t say long covid doesn’t exist, but that it’s not particularly different than other influenza/respiratory illness.



The third paragraph from the bottom of your linked article states:

“Furthermore, we believe it is time to stop using terms like ‘long COVID.’ They wrongly imply there is something unique and exceptional about longer term symptoms associated with this virus…”

Your Medicalexpress article certainly does suggest that Long COVID does not exist as something unique. Since you posted it without comment, you seem to be supporting this assertion.

I’m pointing out that since the study is limited to the vaccinated, it only indicates the absence of Long COVID in those who have obtained some level of immunity. As I noted, there are studies that demonstrate higher frequencies of Long COVID in the unvaccinated.

Here’s another showing increased vaccine use leads to reduced Long COVID frequency:


I don’t know how to cut and paste, but there was a study out of Michigan that showed that vaccinated covid patients were 58% less likely to suffer from long covid than unvaccinated patients. My guess is that covid deniers are like smokers, alcoholics and drug addicts. They are mostly harming themselves and their families if you don’t count the treatment costs.

1 Like

This is a guess on my part.

Long COVID as discussed here is with Delta cases and prior, and not with Omicron cases into the present.

I wouldn’t count on it. Am still seeing issues post Covid from my second infection in September. No longer dealing with cardiac issues, and seem to have gotten all my energy back, but blood counts have gone from bad to worse across the board. I guess it could be totally unrelated, but it is new for me post this infection. Am fully vaccinated, with the experience with the 4 initial days virus infection being no biggie, but the aftermath being pretty darned stressful.

Got to say I have no experience with the flu. I have had one vaccine during the Covid years, to make sure I stayed out of the hospital while they were a disaster, but have never actually gotten the flu since childhood…even when our kids were in the germ factories they call public schools.

Minimize exposure while still maintaining a life.