More than 1m people report long Covid in UK a year after infection | Long Covid

More than 1 million people in the UK have chronic Covid at least one year after they were first infected, new figures have revealed.

The data, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday, comes as other figures suggest the number of Covid patients admitted to hospital in England continues to rise amid a new wave of the virus.

As of September 3, an estimated 2.3 million people living in private households in the UK – 3.5% of the population – had long Covid, equal to one in every 28 people.

About 1.1 million of those believe they were first infected with Covid more than a year ago, with another 514,000 people saying they were first infected at least two years ago.

The figures are based on people who self-reported whether they experienced persistent symptoms for more than four weeks after what they thought was their first Covid infection. However, the ONS said it was possible that some of the 1.1 million people with prolonged Covid symptoms developed after a subsequent, and therefore more recent, Covid infection.

The data also shows that an estimated 342,000 people with prolonged Covid have had their ability to undertake their daily activities greatly limited.

Almost 70% of those with long Covid reported having fatigue, with shortness of breath and muscle pain also common, with women, people aged 35 to 69, and those with disabilities among the groups most likely to have long Covid.

Those aged 35 to 69 have reported the highest rates of lung Covid, with more than 5% of all people in that age group saying they have suffered symptoms for more than four weeks and about 4% reporting symptoms for more than three months.

The figures come as NHS England data, also released on Thursday, reveals that hospital admissions for people with Covid continue to rise amid concerns about a new wave of the virus. The figures show that the total reported hospital admissions and hospital diagnoses hit 7,904 in the week ending October 3, a rise of 33% from the previous seven days.

Of the 8,702 patients with Covid in hospital in acute trusts in England on 4 October, 3,064 were being treated primarily for Covid – around 35%.

Ondine Sherwood, a co-founder of the advocacy group and charity Long Covid SOS, says the number of people now reporting long Covid – 342,000 whose lives have been “severely affected” as a result – illustrates that this is “not just a personal tragedy “just a social, health and workforce problem”.

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London and an expert on long-term Covid, described the situation as deeply disappointing, noting that although the number of people with long-term Covid seemed to dip over the summer, it is now clear that the r is a definite, persistent. , upward trend.

While Altmann added that many could get better, he said it was clear that the most recent wave of Covid, which involved the BA.5 Omicron sub-variant, meant that people were much faster in the long Covid work definition then they recovered.

“This reinforces the message that it is really foolish to imagine that we can laugh off a massive, growing BA.5 wave as ‘living with the virus’ and ‘no worse than the flu,'” he said. “Long Covid and even longer Covid of the 2022 Omicron waves continue to destroy lives in people of all ages. I wish we could just remind everyone to take this seriously – encourage, keep indoor gatherings well ventilated, wear masks indoors and for travel .

Altmann added that the rising hospital figures from Covid bode well for the winter, with the NHS already under considerable pressure and a population that has negative protection against symptomatic infection.

“The rollout of boosters needs to be faster,” he said, adding another concern is that uptake may be lower among younger eligible people. “There hasn’t been strong messaging about the need for boosters and many may now think it’s quite an optional luxury,” he warned.

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