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Long COVID has caused more than 3,500 deaths in the US, says the CDC 

The report is the first attempt by the CDC to quantify the number of deaths related to long COVID

December 15, 2022 8:25pm

Updated: December 15, 2022 8:26pm

Long COVID has led to more than 3,500 deaths since the pandemic began, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday. 

The report is the first attempt by the CDC to quantify the number of deaths related to long COVID, or people who experience long-term effects from the infection, that have taken place in the United States. 

“It’s not one of the leading causes of death, but, considering that this is the first time that we’ve looked at it and that long Covid is an illness that we’re learning more about day after day, the major takeaway is that it is possible for somebody to die and for long Covid to have played a part in their death,” said Farida Ahmad, a health scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics at the C.D.C. who led the study.

CDC analysts examined the death certificates from January 2020 to June 2022 that listed COVID-19 as a contributing or underlying cause of death to determine the percentage of deaths that were caused by long COVID. 

According to the report, most of the people who died from long COVID were White, older males. Around 78.5% of the deaths were among non-Hispanic White people, followed by 10.1% of the deaths made by non-Hispanic Black people, followed by 7.8% by Hispanics. 

Adults between 75 and 84 years old accounted for 28.8% of the long COVID deaths, followed by people who were 85 and older at 28.1% and people between 65 and 74 at 21.5%, according to the report. 

Men accounted for most of the long COVID deaths, with 51.5% of the deaths pertaining to males. 

However, experts believe that the figure in the report is a significant undercount, since more than 30% of the people who get COVID continue to have long-term symptoms, according to CDC data. 

According to Dr. David Putrino, director of rehabilitation innovation for Mount Sinai Health System, the study is a good start to understanding the effects of long covid. 

“This is very clearly data from folks who got very sick, ended up at the hospital with sustained organ damage,” he said.