CDC report shows long COVID contributed to 3,500+ deaths

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thousands of people have died from long COVID during the pandemic, according to a new report from the CDC.

Experts said the disease is a series of ongoing symptoms that can last for weeks, months, and even years after recovering from an initial COVID-19 infection.

The report found long COVID was linked to more than 3,500 deaths from Jan. 2020 to Jun. 2022.

But researchers believe this number is likely an undercount of the true toll of this disease because clinical guidance on long COVID and how to identify it has evolved over time for doctors.

For this analysis, researchers reviewed death certificates from the height of the pandemic through this June.

It shows the longest number of COVID deaths happened this past Feb.

A majority of the deaths were in seniors who were 65 and older.

The report also found white people accounted for more than 78% of the total deaths.

Black people had the next highest with about 10% followed by Latinos with 8%.

“With that, there is an access issue and getting the diagnostics on the medical chart,” said Lauren Nichols, a long-time long COVID patient, and advocate. “As well, within certain communities, there is a lack of simple awareness about the post-infectious illness.”

Nichols said she has been living with long COVID since Mar. 2020.

She believes there should be more training for coroners and medical examiners about post-COVID infections too.

“They need to connect the dots that if a patient has suspected or confirmed COVID, even if it’s over two years ago, that their death may be caused by the multitude of systemic issues that result from common COVID,” said Nichols.

Nichols said she wants Congress to invest more money to research and develop treatments and cures for the disease along with more awareness.

“Because we all deserve to understand the risk at hand, we need to be able to use that to make calculated risk assessments about what we are to do with our lives and our futures,” said Nichols.