In a recent study published in Preventive Medicine, researchers assess the incidence of long coronavirus disease (long COVID) and the prevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections during the spike in SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants BA.4/BA.5 in the United States.

The risk of COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality persists more than two years after the start of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic due to the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 variants with new mutations permitting immune evasion and the waning of vaccine-induced immunity.

The severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections and the rate of global mortality have been significantly reduced thanks to early efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccines and a global push to immunize everyone, but public health measures for COVID-19 surveillance have not kept up with the rate at which new SARS-CoV-2 variants are emerging.

The rise in at-home testing utilizing fast antigen tests and reduction in diagnostic screening rates could lead to an underestimation of the genuine infection rates. A non-representative sample of the broader population could likewise be produced by surveillance based on exposures and symptoms.

In the present study, the researchers conducted a bilingual and cross-sectional survey among U.S. adults above the age of 18 through mobile phones and landlines for four days starting July 30, 2022. An iterative weighting method was used to ensure that selected participants represented the races, ethnicities, age groups, genders, and education levels of the general population.

The questionnaire determined the results from rapid antigen, at-home test kits, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in the two weeks leading up to the survey, which was when Omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariants were the dominant circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2.