(WHTM) — While cases and deaths from COVID-19 may have eased, long-term effects of the virus still linger. Many continue to experience a concerning symptom — cognitive decline — after recovering from the illness.

Last week, Penn State researchers received a grant of more than $1 million to study the link between COVID and cognitive decline. The impacts of long COVID are highlighted by some numbers.

“The number of people that are reaching out for care has grown exponentially,” said Dr. John Gavazzi, a clinical psychologist who has treated patients for the mental effects of long COVID.

A new study from the CDC and the Census Bureau shows about 16 million Americans have long COVID. Of those, between 2 and 4 million are out of work because of it. While the symptoms vary from person to person, it seems like cognitive decline might be one of the biggest issues.

“There are many people who are complaining about brain fog, limited attention, limited concentration, difficulty with word finding, so there are a lot of soft signs of some type of neurological events going on,” Gavazzi said.

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“When somebody starts losing some of their cognitive functioning or they are not functioning as well as they once did, it can be traumatic for some people that they are a young individual who is showing signs and symptoms of someone who is much older in terms of memory or word-finding problems,” said Gavazzi.

While health professionals continue to study the impacts of long COVID and the severity of those symptoms, there is still a lot they don’t know.

For people experiencing symptoms of long COVID, though, Gavazzi suggests they “live one day at a time. It’s to take care of yourself as best as you can, that you are on a good schedule, you’re going to bed at the same time, you’re getting up at the same time, you’re exercising on a regular basis, you’re eating good food.”

Gavazzi says those health strategies are helpful, and many patients do improve in time.