Long Covid symptoms ‘limit ability of 1.2m in UK to undertake day-to-day activities’

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Long Covid is limiting the ability of 1.2 million people in the UK to undertake day-to-day activities, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports.

That figures represents 67 per cent of the 1.8m long Covid cases in the country, where people have symptoms persisting for more than four weeks after first catching the virus.

One in five sufferers say that their daily activities were particuarly badly affected, with 346,000 people saying they were ‘limited a lot’ .

Fatigue continues to be the most common symptom reported as part of individuals’ experience of long Covid, with 51 per cent saying they had experienced it, followed by shortness of breath (33 per cent), loss of sense of smell (26 per cent), and difficulty concentrating (2 per cent).

The 1.8m people with long Covid, as of April , amounts to 2.8% of the UK population.

Estimated number of people living in private households with self-reported long COVID of any duration, UK: four-week periods ending 2 May 2021 to 3 April 2022 (ONS)
Estimated number of people living in private households with self-reported long COVID of any duration, UK: four-week periods ending 2 May 2021 to 3 April 2022 (ONS)

Of these, 235,000 people have been suffering from the condition for at least two years after they first caught the virus.

A further 791,000 have had long Covid for at least a year, 1.3m for at least 12 weeks and 382,000for less than 12 weeks.

Around one in three people caught the virus before Alpha became the main variant; one in four each in the Delta and Omicron periods and around 14 per cent in the Alpha period.

Most people experiencing long Covid were in one or more of the following groups; those aged 35 to 49 years; females; people living in more deprived areas; those working in social care, teaching and education or health care; those with another activity-limiting health condition or disability.

The estimates in the ONS analysis relate to self-reported long Covid, as experienced by study participants who responded to a representative survey rather than those who haad been clinically diagnosed

If you are worried about new or ongoing symptoms four or more weeks after having COVID-19, see the NHS webpage on the long-term effects of coronavirus and the NHS Your COVID Recovery website.

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