August 24 News Release: First Long COVID Dashboard Released

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First Long COVID Dashboard Released by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 

ROSEMONT, IL – August 24, 2021 – The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) today announced the launch of the first dashboard that shows how many millions of Americans are estimated to be experiencing Long COVID symptoms by state, county and nationally.

The dashboard is based on data from Johns Hopkins University CSSE COVID-19 data and the U.S. census, and includes state and county level statistics and trends over time for the Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC or Long COVID) infection. AAPM&R’s dashboard has options for estimating the number of Long COVID cases based on different assumptions and percentages.

“Our dashboard is an important tool to help estimate and assess the growing population of people with Long COVID and help hospitals, clinics and healthcare professionals across the country prepare and plan for their care,” said Steven Flanagan, MD, FAAPMR, Chair of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, Medical Director of Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU-Langone Health and Vice President of AAPM&R.

AAPM&R has called for a national plan to address the needs of millions of individuals who are suffering from the long-term symptoms of COVID-19.

“We need to better understand how many people have Long COVID and where those populations are located to ensure we have the appropriate resources and infrastructure to support them. Our call for a national plan emphasizes the need for research to advance the medical understanding of Long COVID, equitable access to care for patients and resources to build necessary infrastructure. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that we, as a country, help Long COVID patients reach their highest levels of recovery, and this dashboard demonstrates the urgent need for a plan,” said Dr. Flanagan.

According to two publications from the Journal of the American Medical Association, 10-30% of individuals who had COVID-19 reported at least one persistent symptom up to six months after the virus left their bodies. That means an estimated three to ten million Americans are experiencing symptoms of Long COVID, which are varied and ongoing, including neurological challenges, cognitive problems such as brain fog, shortness of breath, fatigue, pain and mobility issues.

In March, the Academy launched a multi-disciplinary PASC collaborative of experts to develop clinical guidance to improve quality-of-care as well as formal education and resources to improve experience-of-care and health equity. On August 6, AAPM&R released the first Long COVID guidance statement on fatigue, which is a peer-reviewed guidance statement intended to help physicians make clinical decisions concerning treatment of Long COVID. Additional guidance will be published on a rolling basis.

The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is the national medical specialty organization representing more than 10,000 physicians who are specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation. PM&R physicians, also known as physiatrists, treat a wide variety of medical conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons. PM&R physicians evaluate and treat injuries, illnesses, and disability, and are experts in designing comprehensive, patient-centered treatment plans. Physiatrists utilize cutting‐edge as well as time‐tested treatments to maximize function and quality of life.