The study found that some of the long-term patterns of Covid related to age, sex, race and ethnicity differed from those seen in deaths caused by the initial infection. For example, while black and Hispanic people had higher death rates from initial coronavirus infection than non-Hispanic whites, these groups did not have higher long-term Covid-related death rates, the study found.
The researchers suggested that the difference may be in part due to systemic disparities that have resulted in less access to health care for black and Hispanic patients, who may not have received appropriate Covid diagnoses. The study said it was also possible that because black and Hispanic patients died at higher rates from the initial illness than white patients, they may have “fewer Covid-19 survivors to experience prolonged Covid conditions.”
Almost 57 percent of long-term Covid-related deaths were in people aged 75 and over. Almost a third of death certificates that mentioned a long Covid listed the underlying or main cause of death as a non-Covid-related condition, such as heart disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s.
“This is just scratching the surface — this is a first look,” said David Putrino, director of rehabilitation innovation at New York’s Mount Sinai Health System, who was not involved in the study.
He said the study appeared to mainly capture the deaths of people who experienced a severe initial infection with the coronavirus and who survived that phase but had organ damage and other serious complications. He said other long-term Covid-related deaths should be studied, including suicide deaths of people who had devastating post-Covid symptoms.
Another report released Wednesday by the Documenting Covid-19 Project provided a snapshot of long-term Covid-related deaths by looking at death certificates in 2020 and 2021 in Minnesota, New Mexico and some other places. That report, conducted by Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation and MuckRock, a public records foundation, found that 18 of the 28 long-term Covid-related deaths in Minnesota during those years occurred in people over 80 years old and that most of the patients had worked in blue-collar jobs and did not have a university degree. In New Mexico, about a third of the 13 long-term Covid-related deaths were in people under the age of 60, and some were frontline or essential workers, the report said.
Experts evaluating the CDC study warned that it was both an incomplete picture of the mortality linked to a long Covid and the greater number of the disease, which according to the Government Accountability Office has affected between 7, 7 and 23 million people in the United States. . .
“This is an important thing to explore and study, but it shouldn’t be used as a proxy to say, ‘Oh, well, Covid isn’t that bad because you look at how few deaths there are,'” said Dr. said Putrino. “We shouldn’t measure the damage of Covid by deaths alone.”