The Health Department will recruit up to 10,000 participants for the study when it launches this year and follow up with them over several years. Building on various surveys that have already been done nationally and locally, this series of surveys will produce New York City-specific data on how COVID-19 impacts individuals over time. These data will inform policy makers and program planners on the needs and barriers to support services for those experiencing long-term physical and mental health problems.
“We know that the end of an emergency must also be the beginning of a process of learning and understanding so we are better prepared and can support COVID survivors over time,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “This work – to study the long-term impacts of COVID on people’s health – will inform the future of care people receive. It will also develop our understanding of the disease and expand our knowledge of what people are experiencing, which can be confusing and disorienting without this understanding. We are proud to be entrusted with this effort, are grateful to the participants, and look forward to the work ahead.”
Throughout the course of the project, the Health Department team will work with community-based partners who serve communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as organizations supporting Long COVID research and advocacy. This panel of partners will provide subject matter expertise and awareness of issues of importance to people living with Long COVID.
Prospective studies like this one are important to understanding people’s health.
New Yorkers recovering from COVID-19 or Long COVID can be connected to care by calling 212-COVID19 to reach NYC Health + Hospitals AfterCare program and be connected to its three COVID-19 Centers of Excellence.
NYC Health + Hospitals’ COVID-19 Centers of Excellence in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn offer state-of-the-art short and long-term follow-up care for Long COVID patients. The centers support New Yorkers recovering from Long COVID through a range of specialty care, including pulmonary care and supplemental oxygen, cardiological care, diagnostic radiology services, comprehensive mental health services, and examination rooms with negative pressure systems to safely see patients who may have COVID-19.
“I want to assure New Yorkers recovering from COVID-19 or living with Long COVID that you are not alone—connections to care and other resources are a phone call away at 212-COVID19,” said Dr. Amanda K. Johnson, Director of AfterCare and Assistant Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals. “AfterCare’s work contacting over a half million New Yorkers recovering from COVID-19 and the Health Department’s launch of a comprehensive study of the complex, multisymptomatic impacts of Long COVID will ensure no one in our city suffers in silence and that New Yorkers have access to the most helpful resources available. I am grateful to the Health Department for using the power of public health to reach our communities, understand their needs, and support our collective recovery.”
The Health Department has a record of producing long-term research projects to track health impacts of emergencies. For example, after 9/11, there were concerns about potentially long-term health effects from the disaster, especially from the toxins people inhaled from the dust cloud and the psychological impact of the events. The Health Department helped create the World Trade Center Health Registry, where researchers track and investigate possible trends in illness and recovery to help create guidelines that can save lives and reduce injuries in similar future disasters. In 2023, the Registry marked its 20-year anniversary, having tracked the health of 71,000 enrollees.
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