“Long Covid” is the constellation of physical, neurological and cognitive symptoms that can last for months and impair people’s daily lives. Debilitating symptoms include brain fog or extreme fatigue after the infection has resolved. Many people who had mild or asymptomatic initial reactions to coronavirus infection went on to develop long Covid that persisted for months.
Since many of the people with long Covid are working age, long Covid could have a Macro impact on the labor market. Millions of people have been confirmed to have Covid, but it’s possible that millions more (many of them young) were never sick enough to be diagnosed.
It’s too early to tell if Omicron can cause long Covid since it’s only been around for a couple of months. The data below is from the original, alpha and delta variants.
**Can Omicron Cause Long Covid?**
**It is too soon to know, scientists say, but mild initial illness may not signal reduced risk.**
**By Pam Belluck, The New York Times, Jan. 19, 2022**
**One large study, which was published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, was based on reports to a phone app by more than 1.2 million British adults who had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine between December 2020 and July 2021. It found that people who had received two vaccine doses and gotten breakthrough infections were about half as likely as people who had not been vaccinated to report symptoms lasting at least 28 days after their infection. About 5 percent of those with breakthrough infections reported such lingering symptoms, the study found, compared with 11 percent of infected people in an unvaccinated control group....**
**Another study analyzed records of about 240,000 patients infected with the coronavirus by May 2021. It found that people who had received even one dose of a Covid vaccine before their infection were seven to 10 times less likely to report two or more symptoms of long Covid 12 to 20 weeks later. ...** [end quote]
Vaccination dramatically reduces long Covid. The economies of areas with low vaccination rates will be more strongly impacted.
If 11% of unvaccinated people have lingering symptoms – bad enough to keep them from working – this could account for at least part of the failure of the full recovery of workforce participation despite a strong labor market.