The Daily Telegraph

Can you ever shake off ‘long Covid’?

Health ex­perts warn that the af­ter-ef­fects of the virus could be a big­ger prob­lem than ex­cess deaths. Eleanor Steafel re­ports

- Health · Mental Health · Medications · Medicine · Coronavirus (COVID-19) · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Pharmacology · King's College London · London · United Kingdom · Saudi Arabia

Many are so fa­tigued they have barely been able to walk up­stairs for months, oth­ers still get short of breath th from the sim­plest task, and for some, ev­ery bite of food that passes their lips tastes of ash. For the grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple with what is known as “long Covid”, liv­ing with the af­ter-ef­fects of Covid-19 has been harder than the virus it­self.

Now, ex­perts say it could turn out to be a big­ger pub­lic health prob­lem than the ex­cess deaths that have oc­curred since the start of the pan­demic.

T Tim Spec­tor, pro­fes­sor of g ge­netic epi­demi­ol­ogy at King’s Col­lege London and the scientist be­hind Bri­tain’s symp­tom­track­ing app, says long Covid suf­fer­ers could turn o out to be the real pub­lic he health fall­out of this pe­riod. Thes These so-called “long haulers”, with qui­etly de­bil­i­tat­ing symp­toms that baf­fle doc­tors and prove dif­fi­cult or even im­pos­si­ble to treat, have shown that the virus can act like an auto-im­mune dis­ease in some, af­fect­ing mul­ti­ple parts of the body long af­ter the ini­tial ill­ness sub­sides.

Re­searchers, along with the health-sci­ence com­pany ZOE, tracked data from more than four mil­lion peo­ple and found that one in 10 suf­fer­ers had symp­toms of long Covid for a month, while one in 50 were found to be suf­fer­ing at least three months later.

“This is af­fect­ing work­ing-age peo­ple who have fam­i­lies and are pro­vid­ing cru­cial money for the econ­omy and they’re be­ing taken out of ac­tion,” Prof Spec­tor sa says. “If you com­pare it in pub­lic health terms, that’s much greater than the un­for­tu­nate deaths in peo­ple aged over 85. “Most of those deaths w would have hap­pened an any­way with flu, but these even events wouldn’t.” Prof Spec­tor hopes that via his app, peo­ple will learn that there are more than 20 recog­nised Covid symp­toms, “not just the three the Gov­ern­ment keep telling peo­ple about”.

Data ex­tracted from ZOE has re­vealed there are six dis­tinct “types” of Covid-19, each dis­tin­guished by a clus­ter of dis­tinct symp­toms.

Some, such as con­fu­sion, ab­dom­i­nal pain and short­ness of breath, are not widely known as Covid symp­toms, but the com­pany says they are “hall­marks” of the he most se­vere forms of the dis­ease.

“We still know very lit­tle about the long-term con­se­quences [of the virus],” Prof Spec­tor says, though one sim­i­lar­ity suf­fer­ers of­ten share is that they tend not to have been in hos hos­pi­tal with the virus. He p points out that in the early days of the pan­demic, lit­tle at­ten­tion was paid to the 99 per cent of cases who were in­fected, but not ill enough to go to h hos­pi­tal. Now, their re re­cov­ery is cru­cial to unde un­der­stand­ing more about the on­go­ing ef­fects of the dis­ease. Here, we speak to five peo­ple who are yet to fully re­cover…

35m peo­ple world­wide have been in­fected with Covid 1 in 50 were found to still have symp­toms af­ter three months 12pc

of NHS Covid pa­tients dis­charged from hos­pi­tal de­velop car­diac is­sues

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