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As many as 2% of UK population living with long Covid


By Jess Hacker
6 January 2022

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An estimated 1.3 million people in the UK are now living with long Covid lasting more than four weeks, the latest data has revealed.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as many as 2% of the population were living with long Covid as of 6 December 2021.

The dataset, published today (6 January), also indicated that 892,000 first had – or suspected they first had – Covid-19 at least 12 weeks prior, with 506,000 suspecting they had the disease at least a year earlier.

Previously, the number of people with long Covid lasting four weeks had dropped to 962,000 in June from 1.03 million in May and remained relatively consistent over the summer.

However, the number has steadily risen over the autumn and early winter months.

It comes as the number Covid cases continue to grow in England, with 1,281,588 positive tests recorded over the last seven days.

In light of these case numbers, the NHS Confederation today claimed the Government’s latest Covid measures ‘do not go far enough’.

Most prevalent among people in deprived areas

As of last month, 809,000 people reported their long Covid symptoms adversely affected the day-to-day activities, with 247,000 stating their daily life had been ‘limited a lot’.

Fatigue remains the most common symptom reported (51%), followed by loss of smell (37%), shortness of breath (36%), and difficulty concentrating (28%).

Prevalence is highest among 35-69-year-olds, women, people living in more deprived areas, people with a health condition or disability, and those working in health or social care and education, according to the latest data.

NHS England previously named two new national clinical leaders to advise on long Covid as part of a series of appointments to support the pandemic recovery.

Last summer, NHSE allocated £30m to GP practices to improve diagnosis and care for patients with long Covid as part of a £100m investment to expand care for the condition.

Meanwhile, a study in July found that more than a quarter of GP practice in England were not using the clinical codes for long Covid in patient records.

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