Most recent data shows that nearly one million people in the UK have been battling with long COVID.
Defined as a form of the virus in which symptoms last for more than four weeks after infection, around 385,000 people have reported suffering from persistent symptoms from last summer. Two-thirds of those struggling with the prolonged symptoms say their ability to carry out everyday tasks has been severely restricted.
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus believes that those struggling with long COVID could see themselves needing extended medical attention for many more months to come. She explains that:
COVID is not like the flu, it can cause long-term serious illness in otherwise young and healthy people, including children. Even those who are not hospitalised have a risk of developing this debilitating condition, leaving them needing ongoing support for many months to recover.
The symptoms that have been reported to affect those battling with long COVID the most are: organ failure, tiredness, shortness of breath, hair loss and brain fog. Fatigue, on the other hand, is the most common of all symptoms, affecting around 535,000 people, followed by shortness of breath striking 397,000 and muscle ache hitting 309,000.
As a result of the significantly high amount of people afflicted by long COVID, Moran urges health ministers to tackle the issue as promptly and effectively as possible:
The new Health Secretary must consider the impact of long Covid ahead of lifting restrictions on July 19 to prevent another wave of cases that could have a devastating impact on our health service and economy.
Gavin Williamson must also consider the risk posed by long Covid to pupils as part of plans to relax Covid measures in schools. The Government’s current approach risks condemning thousands more people to live with the cruel impact of long Covid while struggling to access the support they need.