The organization also plans to analyze how many study patients were vaccinated and when, Ms Gelburd said. More than three-quarters of patients in the study were infected in 2021, most in the last semester. On average, patients still had long Covid symptoms that qualified the diagnosis four and a half months after their infection.
The results suggest a potentially staggering impact of the long Covid on people in their prime and on society at large. Nearly 35% of the patients were between 36 and 50 years old, while almost a third were between 51 and 64 years old and 17% between 23 and 35 years old. Children were also diagnosed with post-Covid conditions: almost 4% of the patients were 12 or younger, while almost 7% were between 13 and 22 years old.
Six percent of patients were 65 or older, a proportion that most likely reflects the fact that patients covered by regular Medicare were not included in the study. They were much more likely than younger groups with long Covid to have had pre-existing chronic health conditions.
The insurance data analyzed did not include information about the race or ethnicity of the patients, the researchers said.
The analysis, which Ms Gelburd said was assessed by an independent academic reviewer but not formally peer-reviewed, also calculated a patient risk score, a way to estimate the likelihood that people would use resources. health care. Comparing all insurance claims patients had up to 90 days before contracting Covid with their claims 30 or more days after becoming infected, the study found that mean risk scores increased for patients of all age groups.
Ms Gelburd and other experts said the scores suggest the repercussions of the long Covid are not just limited to increased medical spending. They report “how many people are leaving their jobs, how many are receiving disability status, how much truancy is there at school,” Ms Gelburd said. “It’s like a pebble thrown into the lake, and those ripples surrounding that pebble are concentric circles of impact.”
Because the study only captured a privately insured population, Dr. Ssentongo said, it almost certainly underestimates the scope and burden of long Covid, especially as low-income communities income have been disproportionately affected by the virus and often have less access to health care. “I think it could be even worse if we added the Medicaid population and all those other people who would have been overlooked” in the study data, he said.