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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For the majority of Britons, Covid-19 is fortunately now a concern of the past, with social distancing restrictions now repealed and vaccinations offering most people protection against serious illness.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]

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