Long COVID Through a Public Health Lens: An Umbrella Review

Public Health Rev. 2022 Mar 15:43:1604501. doi: 10.3389/phrs.2022.1604501. eCollection 2022.


Objectives: To synthesize existing evidence on prevalence as well as clinical and socio-economic aspects of Long COVID. Methods: An umbrella review of reviews and a targeted evidence synthesis of their primary studies, including searches in four electronic databases, reference lists of included reviews, as well as related article lists of relevant publications. Results: Synthesis included 23 reviews and 102 primary studies. Prevalence estimates ranged from 7.5% to 41% in non-hospitalized adults, 2.3%-53% in mixed adult samples, 37.6% in hospitalized adults, and 2%-3.5% in primarily non-hospitalized children. Preliminary evidence suggests that female sex, age, comorbidities, the severity of acute disease, and obesity are associated with Long COVID. Almost 50% of primary studies reported some degree of Long COVID-related social and family-life impairment, long absence periods off work, adjusted workloads, and loss of employment. Conclusion: Long COVID will likely have a substantial public health impact. Current evidence is still heterogeneous and incomplete. To fully understand Long COVID, well-designed prospective studies with representative samples will be essential.

Keywords: COVID-19; long COVID; post COVID-19; prevalence; public healh; review.

Publication types

  • Review