Post-COVID Community Survey

Community Resilience Trust would like to know more about what our community members experienced after having a COVID-19 infection. This will help us focus our work on the information and resources that you want and need. Your answers are anonymous and will be kept confidential. 

What You Need to Know About Long COVID Infographic Flyer

We created this short document to help support community outreach. You can download it here:

Long COVID is a set of symptoms that persist or begin 4 weeks after COVID infection1. The symptoms can last weeks, months, or even years. The most common symptoms include fatigue, post-exertional malaise, body aches, heart rhythm abnormalities, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, headaches, sleep disturbances, abnormal nerve sensations, tinnitus, anxiety, depression, loss of smell or taste, fever, shortness of breath, cough, and stomach problems1,2. There are other names for long COVID, including PASC (post-acute sequelae of COVID-19).

Studies show that between 10-30% of people who are infected with COVID develop long COVID3. Vaccination provides some protection, reducing the chances of long COVID to 5-25%4,5. Scientists and doctors don’t yet know how much protection from long COVID may come from 3rd or 4th booster shots.

Even patients who don’t develop multiple long COVID symptoms are at high risk for other complications in the months following infection. The CDC found that 20% of adults aged 18-64 and 25% of adults over 65 infected with COVID are at risk of long term complications affecting the lungs, heart, blood vessels, muscles, joints, nervous system, and kidneys6.

All strains of SARS-CoV-2 can cause Long COVID, including Omicron7. While there is evidence that more severe infections are more likely to result in long COVID, patients should know that even mild infections can cause long COVID8. There is a somewhat higher risk of long COVID among women, adults over 65, and people with diabetes8,9,10.  We don’t yet know the impact of repeated COVID infections on long COVID, though initial studies show increased risk.
Researchers have several ideas. Long COVID could be caused by small amounts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus hiding out in the body and causing persistent problems. It might also be caused by autoimmunity (self-attack) triggered by COVID or by dysregulation of the normal immune response11. Some studies have found that higher levels of virus and autoantibodies during COVID infection are associated with higher chances of developing long COVID10, which fits in with these hypotheses.
There is no current cure for long COVID. Doctors are still learning what causes it, and so most treatments are focused on alleviating symptoms. Some cases are milder and resolve over weeks to months. Others are debilitating and last years12.
Get vaccinated and boosted. Wear N95 or KN95 masks to reduce COVID transmission and avoid unmasked indoor events when COVID is spreading in your community. The CDC “Community Transmission” map will let you know about cases in your community13. Remember that the CDC “Community Levels” map reflects what is happening in hospitals and will lag behind the actual number of infections14. Since long COVID occurs even with mild cases that do not involve hospitalization, it is especially helpful to know the Community Transmission in your county and modify your plans as needed.
If you are not vaccinated, there is evidence that vaccination after infection can reduce your chances of long COVID15. Vaccination is very safe. Please speak to your health care provider about this. There is evidence that high viral levels during COVID infection are associated with a greater chance of long COVID9. Paxlovid16, a drug that reduces viral levels, may help. Paxlovid also reduces chances of hospitalization17. There are some known drug interactions for Paxlovid. Please speak to your health care provider about this. There is some evidence that low dose aspirin reduces the risk of blood vessel complications and clots during and after COVID18. Microclots may contribute to long COVID. Please speak to your health care provider about this. There is evidence that a very slow, paced return to exercise is best for individuals with long COVID. This may be helpful to prevent long COVID as well.
The most important thing you can do is find a health care provider who listens to you and is knowledgeable about long COVID. Patients may be met with skepticism from doctors because routine lab tests can appear normal even though you have symptoms19. It can be helpful to keep detailed records of your symptoms and connect with other patients to help advocate for your health. Long COVID can lead to disability, so be sure to know your rights20.  And finally, seek support for your mental health if you are able. Long COVID can be associated with a lot of stigma, especially as many in the community want COVID to be “over” and react to any reminders that the pandemic is ongoing.

Participate in Making Austin a More Equitable City

We are inviting you to participate our research to support the question “What is the impact of long COVID on POC in the Austin/Travis County area?” This is a preliminary study for community engagement and education, including providers.

About this Research Summary

This research summary was prepared by the Community Resilience Trust for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351
  3. https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-doctors-wish-patients-knew-about-long-covid
  4. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01840-0
  5. https://ukhsa.koha-ptfs.co.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-retrieve-file.pl?id=fe4f10cd3cd509fe045ad4f72ae0dfff
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7121e1.html
  7. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/selfreportedlongcovidafterinfectionwiththeomicronvariant/6may2022#related-links
  8. https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003773
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867422000721
  10. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M21-4905
  11. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01766-7
  12. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-10051-z
  13. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view?list_select_state=all_states&list_select_county=all_counties&data-type=Risk&null=Risk
  14. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view?list_select_state=all_states&list_select_county=all_counties&data-type=CommunityLevels&null=CommunityLevels
  15. https://www.bmj.com/content/377/bmj-2021-069676 
  16. https://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=16473
  17. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/news-events-human-drugs/fda-updates-paxlovid-health-care-providers
  18. https://heart.bmj.com/content/108/2/88
  19. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2021/11/health-care-workers-long-covid-are-being-dismissed/620801/
  20. https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/civil-rights-covid19/guidance-long-covid-disability/index.html

(including Chief Resilience Officer, Austin Public Health, and Sustainability and Equity Offices)

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