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16 million Americans are experiencing long COVID symptoms

Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani discusses a new Brookings report on long COVID and how the lingering effects of the coronavirus are affecting U.S. workers.

Video Transcript


AKIKO FUJITA: Well, a report from the Brookings Institution says 16 million Americans are experiencing symptoms from so-called long COVID. And the impact on the labor market might be greater than you think. Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani joins us with the details. Anjalee.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's right, Akiko. A new report citing the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey shows that up to 4 million, between 2 and 4 million individuals, are now out of the labor market due to suffering from long COVID. That has an impact of potentially a cost of lost wages that could range from $170 to $230 billion in a year. And that encompasses 16 million Americans that have said that they have experienced long COVID today. And that's of the working age group, so 18 to 65.

So significant numbers there and really growing focus from the administration on what this impact could be. We know that for a very long time, long COVID has been something that not many people have paid much attention to. But it seems to now start to have an impact and potentially be something where there is a focus on it possibly being a mass disability situation.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Anjalee, this is coming from a Brookings report, as I understand it. I mean, what else were they looking at in this report in terms of just the other implications of long COVID? I mean, it seems like the medical implications of this are still being discovered. So, I guess, what's the conclusion from this report?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, so we're still learning. And like you said, it's a wide range of symptoms that are really understood about this. You're looking at things that range from neurological issues, brain fog and the like, to fatigue or muscle pain, breathing problems, heart problems. And this is really because of the virus itself, right? We've heard advocates for a long time say that's the reason to get vaccinated because you're essentially playing Russian roulette when you decide to get infected or leave yourself vulnerable to getting infected.

Yes, you may overcome the disease, but it could also have long-term impacts because of how the virus attacks multiple organs in the body. And that's something that experts are still wrapping their heads around. And that is why this report is so important. For a long time, long COVID symptoms have been underreported. But it's something that employers, insurers, and the like are just starting to have conversations about.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Sobering reminder we are still dealing with a pandemic. Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani, thanks so much.