Long covid medical personnel US Wisconsin
COVID infection itself has killed more than 1 million people in the US, according to the CDC. Image Credit: Reuters

Long COVID has played a part in killing 3,544 people in the US, according to a government study that suggests how severe SARS-CoV-2's impact may remain after the pandemic era passes.

Deaths from the syndrome peaked in February and were more common among men than women, according to an analysis of death certificates as of Oct. 7 conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Vital Statistics. Almost eight out of 10 long COVID deaths were in White people, with Black people the second most-affected group at about 10% of the total.

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COVID infection itself has killed more than 1 million people in the US, according to the CDC. Comprising immune, cardiac and brain disturbances among others, long COVID has no approved treatments and has affected as many as 23 million people in the US at varying levels of severity. While Harvard University researchers have estimated the disease may cost the US $3.7 trillion, the CDC estimate is the first of deaths to date.

Numerous academic institutions and research organizations are studying the disease to find the best ways for prevention and treatment, as it still remains a mystery. While there's some evidence that long COVID is less common in people who have been vaccinated, the condition can appear in people who have suffered mild or severe coronavirus infections. Symptoms of long Covid can include the moderate, such tiredness and brain fog, to the more serious, including respiratory and heart issues.

The vast majority of long COVID deaths were among older people, with about three-quarters in people 65 and older. There is no diagnostic test for long COVID, as its cause isn't well understood. The researchers looked at US death certificates for a variety of terms used to describe long COVID, such as "chronic COVID ," "long haul COVID," "long hauler COVID," "post-acute sequelae of COVID-19."