Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Chart of the Day
3 November 2022

The scourge of Long Covid

More than half a million Britons have had the post-Covid condition for more than two years.

By Nick Ferris

For the majority of Britons, Covid-19 is fortunately now a concern of the past, with social distancing restrictions now repealed and vaccinations offering most people protection against serious illness. But for 2.1 million people in England and Wales – equivalent to 3.3 per cent of the population – Covid remains a daily battle as they continue to struggle with Long Covid. 

New data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) at the start of November shows that, of those 2.1 million people, 507,000 (24 per cent) were first diagnosed more than two years ago. Some 1.1 million people (50 per cent) were diagnosed more than one year ago, while 1.8 million (83 per cent) were diagnosed more than 12 weeks ago.

Fatigue is the most commonly reported symptom of Long Covid, with 70 per cent of those reporting Long Covid experiencing the symptom. This is followed by difficulty concentrating (45 per cent), shortness of breath (42 per cent) and muscle ache (42 per cent).

Long Covid is most prevalent among those aged 35-69 years old, and is more common in women than men, says the ONS. The phenomenon has contributed to a record 2.5 million people being classed as economically inactive.

[See also: Nurses are still earning less in real terms than in 2010]

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
Musidora Jorgensen: Sustainability is good for business
How to navigate the modern cyber-threat landscape
Supporting customers through the cost of living crisis

Topics in this article :