What is long Covid and what are the symptoms?

1 April 2021, 14:57

Long Covid has been suffered by around 1.1million people
Long Covid has been suffered by around 1.1million people. Picture: Getty

By Zoe Adams

Long Covid in the UK has impacted over one million people but what exactly is it? And what are the symptoms of long Covid?

Coronavirus in the UK has been contracted by around 15.3% of England’s population with latest Office for National Statistics also revealing around 1.1million have suffered with long Covid.

Ben Humberstone, Head of Health Analysis and Life Events at the ONS, said: "The Office for National Statistics estimates that over a million people in the UK were reporting symptoms associated with long Covid at the beginning of March 2021, with over two-thirds of these individuals having had (or suspecting they had) Covid-19 at least 12 weeks earlier.

“An estimated 674,000 people reported that their symptoms have negatively impacted on their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities.”

Related article: Only half of people in the UK know what the main Covid symptoms are, study revealed

Related article: When does the coronavirus lockdown end in the UK?

So what exactly is long Covid? How long does it last? And what are the long Covid symptoms we should be aware of? Here’s the latest on the coronavirus illness:

Long Covid symptoms can persist for up to a year
Long Covid symptoms can persist for up to a year. Picture: PA

What is long Covid?

At present, there is no official definition of what long Covid is, however, the term is used to describe the symptoms of Covid-19 that continue for weeks and sometimes months.

The effects of long Covid are currently self-reported rather than clinically diagnosed.

What are the symptoms of long Covid?

Many people who contract coronavirus recover quickly, however, those who report long Covid have listed the following as persisting symptoms for a period of weeks and months:

  • Fatigue
  • Breathlessness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pains
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Not being able to think straight or focus - referred to as ‘brain fog’
Long Covid symptoms including persistent chest pains and palpitations
Long Covid symptoms including persistent chest pains and palpitations. Picture: PA

How long does long Covid last?

Research is still coming to a conclusion on the length of long Covid which has so far lasted anywhere between five months and a year.

This time length includes those who needed hospital treatments and those who didn’t.