An estimated 962,000 people in the UK have self-reported experiencing long Covid symptoms lasting more than four weeks, the latest data shows.
Published 1 July by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the figures suggest that 1.5% of the UK population experienced persistent symptoms as of 6 June, marking a slight drop from 1.02 million in May.
ONS also said that 856,000 people had reported symptoms lasting 12 weeks, down slightly from 869,000 the previous month after a sharp rise from 697,000 (25%) since March 2021.
Additionally, 385,000 people first had or suspected they had Covid-19 at least one year earlier, i.e., they’d had symptoms for a year or more. This number stood at 70,000 in March this year.
Most common symptoms
Fatigue was found to be the most common long Covid symptom (535,000 people), followed by shortness of breath (397,000 people), muscle ache (309,000 people), and difficulty concentrating (295,000 people).
Meanwhile, 65.9% of people with self-reported long Covid said it had ‘adversely affected’ their day-to-day lives, with 18.5% saying their ability to go about their lives had been ‘limited a lot’.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said the organisation was hearing concerns of the effects of long Covid among health and care staff, particularly on their ‘ability to deliver care when pressures are so heightened’.
And while she welcomed NHS England’s long Covid clinics and treatment pathways, she noted that ‘the full picture is still emerging’ and that each case will be unique and care packages must be ‘tailored to each patient’.
‘This means it is not yet clear what resource will be required over the months and years to come,’ she added.
‘It will be important that long Covid is taken seriously, and the health service gets what it needs to address this.’
Last month, 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 new study found that more than a quarter of GP practice in England are not using the clinical codes for long Covid in patient records.