Will Grogan stared blankly at his ninth-grade biology classwork. It was material he had mastered the day before, but it looked utterly unfamiliar. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he blurted. His teacher and classmates reminded him how adeptly he’d answered questions about the topic during the previous class. “I’ve never seen this before,” he insisted, becoming so distressed that the teacher excused him to visit the school nurse.
The episode, earlier this year, was one of numerous cognitive mix-ups that plagued Will, 15, after he contracted the coronavirus in October, along with issues like fatigue and severe leg pain.


Studies estimate long Covid may affect between 10 percent and 30 percent of adults infected with the coronavirus. Estimates from the handful of studies of children so far range widely. At an April congressional hearing, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, cited one study suggesting that between 11 percent and 15 percent of infected youths might “end up with this long-term consequence, which can be pretty devastating in terms of things like school performance.”


Nearly 4.2 million young people in the United States have had Covid-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Much about long Covid remains mysterious. Some symptoms resemble aftereffects of concussions and other brain injuries. Some, like post-exertional malaise — when physical or mental exertion increases exhaustion — echo symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, experts say.
An April study by the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics found that 9.8 percent of 2-to-11-year-olds and 13 percent of 12-to-16-year-olds infected with the coronavirus reported continuing symptoms five weeks later. After 12 weeks, rates remained significant: 7.4 percent in the younger group and 8.2 percent in the older group.
Pam Belluck. NYT Aug 8 2021. This Is Really Scary’: Kids Struggle With Long Covid.