News Release

New National Data on Long Covid


The Census Bureau added a question on long Covid activity limitations to the Household Pulse Survey (HPS) in September, and data from the first survey has been released. Until this month, the U.S. “lacked direct, nationally representative survey data” showing how the daily activities of people with long Covid––at last count, about 17.6 million adults in the U.S.––are limited by their symptoms. 

In a report on the HPS data, the Center for Economic and Policy Research writes that in September “about 4.4 million adults reported current [long Covid] symptoms that reduced their ability to carry out day-to-day activities by a lot. Another 9.9 million,” meanwhile, “reported [long Covid]-related impairments that slightly reduce their ability to participate in daily activities.” 

HAYLEY BROWN;, @hayleycbbrown
    Brown is a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Brown told the Institute for Public Accuracy: a major takeaway of the work is that “the majority––over 80 percent––of those experiencing current long Covid symptoms also say that long Covid symptoms limit their daily activities. The implication is that reports of long Covid aren’t being driven by people checking a box based on negligible symptoms, a possibility I have seen invoked by those looking to dismiss long Covid in the past. While we only have one set of HPS data so far, they suggest that long Covid symptoms are disabling for many.”

Shawn Fremstad, a coauthor on the report and a senior policy fellow at CEPR, added: “This is the first ‘hard’ data we have from a federal survey that is nationally representative, on disability due to long Covid.” Fremstad believes there has been too little coverage of the HPS data since it was released earlier this month.