Long Covid sufferers still have symptoms after a year

·2 min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The number of Britons believing they are suffering from long Covid has fallen slightly, according to latest estimates.

A total of 945,000 people - 1.46 per cent of the population – self-reported that they were suffering symptoms more than four weeks after first suspecting they had caught Covid, the Office for National Statistics said.

This figure, as of July 4, was down slightly on the 962,000 who reported suffering from long Covid at the start of June.

However the devastating impact of long Covid was shown by more than 380,000 people in the latest survey saying they had suffered symptoms for at least a year.

These most commonly include fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle ache and loss of smell.

Almost two-thirds of people said they suffered on a day-to-day basis. Almost one in five said their lifestyle had been “limited a lot”.

The problem was more common in women, people aged 35 to 69 years, people living in the most deprived areas, those working in health or social care, and those with another health condition or disability.

Last month an international survey led by University College London found there were more than 200 symptoms of long Covid and more than nine in 10 people suffer from the disease for more than eight months.

The findings prompted calls for the UK to introduce a national screening programme for long Covid.

Cllr David Fothergill, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “Long covid is an emerging phenomenon and we are only beginning to learn more about its effects and implications for our public services and impact on health inequalities.

“With nearly a million people self-reporting symptoms and evidence that long covid disproportionately affects those living in the most deprived areas, those with an existing health condition or disability and people working in health and social care, we need to start planning now for what could be a potential increase in requests for council help and support.

“All of us involved in the pandemic response, including central and local government, need to have an honest debate about the potential implications of long covid on resources and capacity, not just in terms of pressures on the NHS, but also on our overstretched and under-pressure social care system and other vital council services.

“This must be reflected in the Government’s upcoming spending review, as part of our overall recovery efforts.”

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