Long COVID Symptoms in New York City most common among residents of The Bronx

Latinos across the entire city and residents of The Bronx reported long COVID symptoms at disproportionately high rates last year, according to new data from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene obtained by THE CITY.

In The Bronx — which has the highest COVID death rate in New York City — 28% of adults who had COVID said they had lingering symptoms, the highest percentage in the city. In Manhattan, 20% of adults who had COVID said they had lingering symptoms, the lowest percentage in the five boroughs.

Of Latino adults in New York City, 30% who had COVID reported at least one long COVID symptom, compared to 23% of all white adults who had COVID.

This data comes from the DOHMH’s 2021 New York City Community Health Survey, which has yet to be released. 

The survey randomly selected around 10,000 adults in New York City and asked if they had experienced any long-lasting health effects following a COVID infection such as cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, brain fog, headaches, joint pain, gastrointestinal upset, blood clots and depression. This marked the first time the department had asked these questions in its annual community health survey.

Dr. Celia Quinn, the health department’s deputy commissioner for disease control, testified at a City Council hearing last month that the 2021 health survey suggests that “up to 30% of New York adults who have had COVID-19 may experience some form of long COVID.”

Women were 1.4 times more likely to report symptoms than men.

“This represents a major public health burden and threat,” said Dr. Denis Nash, an epidemiologist and the executive director of CUNY’s Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health. “Once someone recovers from the acute phase of their COVID infection, it doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily going to be back to normal in a short period of time. Many, many people are struggling.”

The survey, which relies on New Yorkers to self-report symptoms, may not capture the full picture. “We could potentially underestimate the burden of long COVID in some communities,” Nash said. “Those with better access to care might be more likely to endorse the link [to COVID].” 

The high rates of long COVID in The Bronx confirm that “a lot of the risk factors for long COVID overlap with COVID, and they also overlap with socioeconomic disadvantage,” he added.

New Yorkers can be screened for long COVID at two dozen private and public clinics across the city, including three city-run COVID-19 Centers of Excellence in The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. To date, the centers have had more than 20,000 visits, according to testimony by NYC Test and Treat Executive Director Ted Long at the Council hearing last month.

The city also offers AfterCare, a phone line and webpage that directs New Yorkers with long COVID to local clinics and an online support group. 

Yet health advocates say these services don’t go far enough. They point to a dearth of doctors who know how to identify and treat long COVID, as well as barriers patients face such as high costs and denied insurance claims. 

At a City Council hearing in October, Mount Sinai’s director of rehabilitation, David Putrino, urged city leaders to develop policies to “guide and enforce standards of necessary care” for New Yorkers with long COVID. 

Little Africa Newspaper November 29 to December 12, 2022. https://www.littleafricanews.com

Story culled from The City. Click here for the link to the full story https://www.thecity.nyc/2022/11/28/23476064/long-covid-prevalent-latinos-the-bronx


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