Long COVID incidence in adults and children between 2020 and 2023: a real-world data study from the RECOVER Initiative

Res Sq [Preprint]. 2024 Apr 26:rs.3.rs-4124710. doi: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-4124710/v1.


Estimates of post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) incidence, also known as Long COVID, have varied across studies and changed over time. We estimated PASC incidence among adult and pediatric populations in three nationwide research networks of electronic health records (EHR) participating in the RECOVER Initiative using different classification algorithms (computable phenotypes). Overall, 7% of children and 8.5%-26.4% of adults developed PASC, depending on computable phenotype used. Excess incidence among SARS-CoV-2 patients was 4% in children and ranged from 4-7% among adults, representing a lower-bound incidence estimation based on two control groups - contemporary COVID-19 negative and historical patients (2019). Temporal patterns were consistent across networks, with peaks associated with introduction of new viral variants. Our findings indicate that preventing and mitigating Long COVID remains a public health priority. Examining temporal patterns and risk factors of PASC incidence informs our understanding of etiology and can improve prevention and management.

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