Copyright: Getty Images
“Long Covid” describes a range of different symptoms suffered by people weeks or months after being infected with coronavirus, some of whom weren’t particularly ill with Covid-19 in the first place.
Pinning down exactly how many people are suffering with it has proved elusive, but experimental data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today has put the number at more than 150,000 people.
Fatigue, coughs and headaches are the most common complaints – with Covid patients who were treated in hospital more likely to suffer serious complications like heart attacks.
This marks the start of the ONS’s work in estimating the prevalence of long Covid.
The ONS said one in 10 people it surveyed who tested positive for the virus, still had symptoms 12 weeks later; while one in five had symptoms for five weeks or more.
It looked at a group of people taking part in the Infection Survey, used to estimate how many people in the population have Covid.
But the analysis did not account for people dropping out of the study – potentially more likely to be those who are free from symptoms.
That means the survey is not necessarily representative of the whole population – it might over-represent certain groups of people who – for whatever reason – are more likely to stay in the study.
The ONS said the analysis was “very much a work in progress”.