I wanted more clues about whether really bad long covid outcomes were vanishingly rare (but concentrated a lot in my Twitter) or whether for instance a large fraction of ‘brain fogs’ reported in datasets are anything like the horrors sometimes described. So I took my questions to Positly, hoping that the set of people who would answer questions for money there was fairly random relative to covid outcomes.

I hope to write something more careful about this survey soon, especially if it is of interest, but figure the basic data is better to share sooner. This summary is not very careful, and may e.g. conflate slightly differently worded questions, or fail to exclude obviously confused answers, or slightly miscount.

This is a survey of ~230 Positly survey takers in the US, all between 20 and 40 years old. Very few of the responses I’ve looked at seem incoherent or botlike, unlike those in the survey I did around the time of the election.


Have you had covid?

Yes: 57

No: 151

Unsure: 22

Do you seem to have ongoing health problems after recovering from acute covid illness?

Yes: 12 out of 57 = 21%

Are you currently working less as a result of the covid pandemic?

“Yes, because I had covid and it left me with ongoing problems with physical or mental health” - about 6 tick this, though often in conjunction with other yes explanations.

=> 10% rate of people apparently working less at least partly due to Long Covid, among those who’ve had covid

(Also, here is an example of someone responding that they work just as much as before:

‘I am a registered nurse, so I am around a lot of COVID. The lingering symptom that has been the worst is the fatigue. I feel like I am never rested. It actually lead to a car accident because I fell asleep driving after the second round of COVID…’

Finding good questions is tricky - in a bad enough situation everyone might be doing very badly and yet look more productive due to necessity.)

Agreement with a list of checkable statements about their lives

8 people unambiguously checked boxes agreeing with statements that sounded especially brutal to me (they could check as many as they wanted from a longer list including less brutal things):

  • I feel substantially cognitively damaged
  • I am unable to walk up stairs without resting
  • I am less markedly able to think clearly, more than half the hours of the day
  • My life is miserable

(I’m tentatively not including people who seemed to give conflicting answers in different places, though maybe some will make sense on further inspection)

This seems to be 8/57 = 14% rate of brutal covid outcomes, though at least some of these are probably very recent - I haven’t filtered things out by when they got covid, though I did ask them (I’m hoping to go to sleep very soon).

How much do your ongoing health problems from covid reduce your capacity to do things you would have normally done in a day?

Only given to the 12 people who said they had ongoing health problems.


Average: 46% reduction

Median: 37% reduction

People citing less than 30% reduction: 1

For people with ongoing health issues, given a choice of A) ‘be rid of ongoing covid related health issues and symptoms forever’ or B) an increase in income this year:

For 10% increase in income:

6 would take health, 3 income, 2 N/A

For 50% increase in income:

3 would still take health, 3 would take income

For 200% increase in income:

1 still prefers health, 2 would take income

##Questions just given to people who didn’t have covid, about people they know:

  • How many people do you know who had covid at least two months ago and survived?
  • How many of them are less than 40 years old?
  • How many of those people (under 40 years old, survived covid at least two months ago) seem to be having longer term health problems as a result, that probably reduce their productivity by more than 20%?

151 respondents estimated between them that they knew 479 people less than 40 years old who survived covid over two months ago (ignoring two people with implausibly high numbers of acquaintances). Of these, they estimated that 75 of these people had developed longer term health problems that reduced their productivity by more than 20%.

75/479 = 16%

=> Among youngish people who respondents knew to have recovered from covid more than two months ago, it seemed to them that about 16% of those people had more than 20% reduction in productivity from ongoing covid health effects