(The Hill) — New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shed light on the rate at which long COVID affects children, indicating the condition occurs among only a small minority of them.
In a new survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the CDC found that 1.3 percent of children had long COVID in 2022 and 0.5 percent now have it.
Long COVID is the condition that manifests following a COVID-19 infection through a wide variety of different symptoms. Reported symptoms include general fatigue, changes in mental health, neurological changes or even organ damage.
Lingering post-infection conditions are not exclusive to COVID. UK researchers recently found that lingering symptoms can be detected in people recovering from other non-COVID respiratory illnesses.
The majority of people who contract infections are believed to recover without developing long COVID, though the exact rate at which it occurs is unclear as a consensus on what can be considered has not been widely agreed upon.
Some studies have indicated that intervention such as vaccination and antiviral use may reduce the chances of someone developing long COVID.
In its survey, the NCHS defined long COVID as experiencing “any symptoms lasting 3 months or longer that you did not have prior to having COVID-19.”
Girls and older children between the ages of 12 and 17 were more likely to report having had long COVID. Hispanic children were more than twice as likely to say they had long COVID compared to Black and Asian children, with 1.9 percent having experienced the condition at some point.
While Asian children have had far fewer instances of experiencing long COVID — 0.2 percent — the CDC noted the differences between white, Black and Hispanic children were not statistically significant.
The NCHS survey involved a sample size of 7,464 with interviews being conducted continuously throughout the year.