According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the problems of long Covid endure. The 5th January figures investigate the prevalence of ongoing symptoms.

Nationally, an estimated 2.1 million people living in private households in the UK (3.3% of the population) were experiencing self-reported long COVID (symptoms continuing for more than four weeks after the first confirmed or suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) infection that were not explained by something else) as of 4 December 2022.

Of people with self-reported long COVID, 191,000 (9%) first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 less than 12 weeks previously, 1.9 million people (87%) at least 12 weeks previously, 1.2 million (57%) at least one year previously and 645,000 (30%) at least two years previously, which means that in a good proportion of people with long Covid, it has continued to debilitate them for quite some time.

Of people with self-reported long COVID, 637,000 (30%) first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 before Alpha became the main variant; this figure was 251,000 (12%) in the Alpha period, 382,000 (18%) in the Delta period and 778,000 (37%) in the Omicron period.

Image by PIRO from Pixabay

Long COVID symptoms adversely affected the day-to-day activities of 1.6 million people (76% of those with self-reported long COVID), with 389,000 (18%) reporting that their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities had been “limited a lot”.

Fatigue continued to be the most common symptom reported as part of individuals’ experience of long COVID (71% of those with self-reported long COVID), followed by difficulty concentrating (49%), shortness of breath (47%) and muscle ache (46%).

As a proportion of the UK population, the prevalence of self-reported long COVID was greatest in people aged 35 to 69 years, females, people living in more deprived areas, those working in social care, those aged 16 years or over who were not working and not looking for work, and those with another activity-limiting health condition or disability.

The estimates are from self-reporting, rather than clinical diagnosis. If anyone in or around Bude feels they have it and want to tell us more, do please get in touch at