Does the risk of getting a long COVID decrease? Here’s what the experts say

A clue to this extraordinary possibility comes from tens of thousands of responses to US Census Bureau questionnaires, which show a declining percentage of COVID survivors reporting prolonged COVID symptoms. Survivors of COVID.

Last June, the Census Bureau, in partnership with the National Center for Health Statistics, added questions about the long-running COVID-19 “Household Pulse Survey,” a mostly monthly online survey that began in April 2020 to assess the impact of the pandemic.

The study defines long-term COVID as symptoms that last at least three months after being infected with the coronavirus. About 200 symptoms have been identified, the most common of which are deep fatigue, palpitations, neurological complications, and indigestion.

An average of 58,794 COVID survivors nationwide responded to each of the nine long-form COVID surveys offered by the Census Bureau to date. The Chronicle’s analysis revealed a significant trend: in each study, a steadily smaller number of people reported long-term symptoms of COVID.

In June, 18.9% of respondents said they were “currently” experiencing a long-term illness with COVID. By the end of the year, it had dropped to 11.3 percent and by February to 10.8 percent.

In California, the percentage of people reporting current symptoms rose slightly in July and October, but otherwise mirrored the national trend, falling from 16.2 percent in June to 10.3 percent in February.

“Brilliant,” said Dr. Steven Deeks, a longtime COVID researcher at UCSF who is not involved in the research. “These trends appear to be consistent with our and other anecdotal experiences.”

Research shows that people can have long-lasting COVID, whether their initial infection was severe or mild. Researchers point to three probable causes: pieces of the virus remaining hidden in the body, continuous inflammation caused by the coronavirus, and autoimmunity – when the body’s own immune system is activated. These, in turn, can wreak havoc on the body months or even years later.

But is the “virus’s ability to cause prolonged COVID-19” waning? asked Deeks. “That’s really the question posed by this data.”

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