"Long COVID" is going to be a long haul

Another insight has come from the creation in October 2021 of a diagnostic code for those identified as suffering from long covid. Studying the private health-care claims of 75,252 patients labeled with the code, the nonprofit group FAIR Health found that a surprisingly large share of them, three-quarters, had not been hospitalized for the virus but still showed symptoms of long covid. Moreover, long covid seemed to strike women more often, at 59.8 percent of the group compared with 40.2 percent for men. Yet another study published in the British medical journal BMJ found that one dose, and even more so two doses of vaccine, reduced the risks of long covid in Britain.

The policy implications of long covid are immense and just starting to come into view. Not only will health-care systems need to be prepared, but it could also send shock waves through the labor force as workers seek time off to deal with their maladies, or go on disability. It could also lead to a mental health crisis as people struggle to cope with their conditions. Long covid is going to mean a long haul.

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