Themacforums – Long Covid Has Played Role in More Than 3,500 Deaths in U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s review of death certificates, Long Covid has been directly or indirectly responsible for at least 3,500 deaths in the United States.
The study, which was released on Wednesday, is thought to be the first in the country to look into whether lengthy Covid or related phrases are used in official death records in the United States.
Although only a small part of the more than a million deaths linked to coronavirus infection had such sentences, the researchers and other experts said the findings contributed to the expanding understanding of how dangerous long-term post-Covid medical problems can be.
The main finding is that it is possible for someone to pass away and for long Covid to have contributed to their death, according to Farida Ahmad, a health scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics at the C.D.C. “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 by day,” she said.
Long Covid is a complex constellation of symptoms that can impact practically every organ system and continue for months or more. Breathing difficulties, heart problems, extreme exhaustion, and cognitive and neurological disorders are some of the most incapacitating post-Covid symptoms.
The researchers examined death certificates from January 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022, from every state and Washington, D.C. They discovered 1,021,487 death certificates with Covid-19 as an underlying or contributory cause of death. 3,544 of them, or 3.0% of the total, listed long Covid or words like post-Covid syndrome, chronic Covid, or long-haul Covid.
The number of deaths linked to extended Covid in the study, according to Ms. Ahmad and experts not engaged in the research, is probably certainly understated. It has taken some time for doctors and other healthcare professionals to notice and diagnose the illness. As a result, the study was unable to add a new diagnostic code for extended Covid.
Dr. Jeffrey Martin, chief of the division of clinical epidemiology in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study, said that while the new research was significant in bringing up a concern, it should be followed up with more conclusive work.
According to Dr. Martin, “death certificates have historically been deficient in elucidating how a person died.” He recommended that future studies involve interviewing patients’ doctors and family members as well as examining their medical records.
According to Ms. Ahmad, the study indicated that the condition was more likely to be noted on death certificates in the weeks or months following a high in Covid cases and that the number of death certificates mentioning extended Covid increased after 2020.
The research discovered that certain long-term Covid patterns associated with age, sex, race, and ethnicity were different from those observed in fatalities brought on by the first infection. For instance, the study found that while Black and Hispanic patients died at higher rates from the initial coronavirus infection than non-Hispanic whites, those groups did not die at higher rates from chronic Covid.
The researchers hypothesized that systemic inequities may have contributed to the discrepancy by limiting access to healthcare treatment for Black and Hispanic individuals, who may not have obtained the proper long-Covid diagnosis.
According to the study, Black and Hispanic patients may have fewer long-term Covid survivors because they experienced greater rates of initial illness-related mortality than white patients.
People 75 and older accounted for over 57 percent of deaths attributed to extended Covid. A non-Covid ailment like heart disease, cancer, or Alzheimer’s disease was stated as the primary or underlying cause of death on nearly one-third of the death certificates that cited long-term Covid.
David Putrino, director of rehabilitation innovation for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, who was not involved in the study, said, “This is just scraping the surface – this is the first look.”
The study, he claimed, appeared to be largely focused on documenting the fatalities of those who had survived a significant coronavirus infection but who later developed organ damage and other serious sequelae. He recommended studying further long-Covid-related deaths, such as suicides committed by individuals who had debilitating post-Covid symptoms.
The Documenting Covid-19 initiative also released a paper on Wednesday that provided an overview of deaths associated with extended Covid by examining death certificates from Minnesota, New Mexico, and a few other places in 2020 and 2021.
In that study, which was carried out by the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University and Muck Rock, the foundation of a public record, it was discovered that the majority of the patients had held blue-collar jobs and lacked a college degree and that 18 of the 28 deaths connected to long Covid in Minnesota during those years were in people over the age of 80.
Long Covid Has Played Role in More Than 3,500 Deaths in U.S. According to the report, frontline or vital workers made up some of the 13 deaths in New Mexico that were linked to extended Covid.
The Government Accountability Office estimates that the condition has affected between 7.7 million and 23 million people in the United States. Experts who evaluated the C.D.C. study cautioned that it provided an incomplete picture of mortality associated with long-term COVID as well as the larger toll of the condition.
The fact that there aren’t many deaths shouldn’t be used as a justification for claiming that long-term COVID isn’t as bad as it seems, according to Dr. Putrino. “Deaths alone should not be used to gauge the harm that long-term Covid use causes.”