US research finds 1 in 10 adults get long COVID after omicron

A new study from the National Institutes of Health has found that one in 10 people get long COVID after suffering an omicron infection – a lower estimate than at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research – which included nearly 10,000 American adults – was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Thursday.

It highlights a dozen symptoms that distinguish long-term effects. Long COVID is broadly defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as signs, symptoms, and conditions that persist or develop after initial infection with COVID-19. It is also sometimes referred to as long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, chronic COVID, post-COVID conditions, and long-term effects of COVID.

The study compared more than 8,600 adults who had COVID-19 at different times during the pandemic with 1,100 others who had not been infected.


This colorized, undated electron microscope image made available by the US National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, shown in yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, shown in blue/ pink, grown in the laboratory. The sample was isolated from a patient in the United States. According to a study of nearly 10,000 Americans that aims to help scientists better understand the mysterious condition, published in JAMA on Thursday, May 25, 2023. (NIAID-RML via AP)

About one in three COVID-19 patients experienced long COVID, which was similar to study participants who reported falling ill before omicron began circulating widely in the United States more than two years ago. years.

Notably, that’s also when the study began, and the researchers pointed out that people who already had long COVID symptoms might be more likely to enroll.

This colorized electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in November 2022, shows cells, shown in purple, infected with the omicron strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, orange, isolated from of a patient sample, captured at NIAID’s Integrated Research Center in Fort Detrick, Maryland. (NIAID/NIH via AP)

Conversely, about 2,230 patients had their first infection after the start of the study, allowing them to report symptoms in real time.

Only about 10% experienced long-term symptoms after six months.


While millions of people around the world have long suffered from COVID, symptoms vary and scientists still don’t know what causes it, why only some people get it, and even how best to diagnose it.

The study focused on a dozen symptoms, including fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, heart palpitations, sexual problems, loss of smell or taste, thirst , chronic cough, chest pain, worsening of symptoms after abnormal activity and movement.

The COVID-19 testing line wrapped around the PCH campus block of Long Beach City College according to social media and on-site workers on December 27, 2021. (Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)

Others shared by the CDC include fever, difficulty breathing and concentrating, headaches, problems sleeping, pins and needles sensation, dizziness upon standing up, depression or depression. anxiety, joint or muscle pain, skin rashes and changes in menstrual cycles.


The study authors assigned scores to the symptoms, hoping to establish a threshold, although one doctor stressed that medical professionals should not use the list to diagnose someone with a long COVID.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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