60k Brits struck by 'long Covid' have been ill for 3 months – with some left in wheelchairs

UP TO 60,000 Brits struck by “long-Covid” have been ill for three months with some left in wheelchairs.

People who were previously fit and healthy who have recovered from the virus have in some cases been left bed ridden and unable to climb the stairs.

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A report compiled by the team behind the Covid Symptom Study app has now revealed that many are suffering with on-going issues.

Professor Tim Spector, who is leading the Covid Symptom Study app, said that 60,000 people have been ill for more than three months.

Breathlessness and fatigue have been reported by long-term sufferers and some have described how doing shopping or climbing stairs can leave them bed-ridden for days.

Last month it was reported that over half a million Brits were suffering with long-Covid and that some doctors were dismissing symptoms.

It was also reported that 75 per cent of of patients admitted to hospital with the virus continued to suffer with ongoing issues.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s File on 4, Prof Spector said more than 300,000 people had reported symptoms lasting for longer than a month, with up to 60,000 people saying they had symptoms for more than three months.

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that some people were still experiencing symptoms six months after contracting the virus.

 

 

Speaking on LBC radio, Mr Hancock said: "Long Covid, where people six months on are still ill, is prevalent among younger people."

But Professor Spector said he is "frustrated" that data from the app is not being more widely used.

"There's a big danger these (people) might end up being forgotten”.

The programme highlighted that it had asked commissioning groups and health boards across the UK whether or not post-Covid clinics had been set up for people who had not been admitted to the hospital with the virus.

Of the 86 who responded, 10 said they were already running such facilities.

A further 16 said they were planning or redesigning services.

Many patients will be seen by their GP, or existing services.

NHS England's new Your Covid Recovery website offers personalised support for all patients recovering from Covid.

Persistent health problems following acute disease

Health issues following disease include:

  • respiratory symptoms
  • conditions such as chronic cough, shortness of breath
  • lung problems including inflammation and scarring
  • heart issues including chest tightness
  • heart failure and scarring
  • protracted loss or change of smell and taste
  • mental health problems including depression
  • anxiety and cognitive difficulties
  • inflammatory disorders such as muscle pain
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • continuing headaches
  • fatigue
  • weakness and sleeplessness
  • liver and kidney dysfunction
  • clotting disorders and thrombosis
  • problems with the lymph nodes
  • skin rashes

Lynne Turner Stokes, professor of rehabilitation medicine at King's College London, told File On 4 the website had some "good resources" but that "much more" needed to be done.

A spokeswoman for the NHS in England said: "At the same time as treating more than 108,000 coronavirus patients and keeping other vital services running throughout the pandemic, the NHS has played a leading role in patient recovery and scientific discovery which is saving lives here and around the world.

"While experts globally continue work to understand more about the short and long-term impact of this new disease, NHS teams are rapidly expanding aftercare and support to all patients who need it, including new and strengthened rehab centres and community services providing tailored treatment in every part of the country."

The spokesperson added that the first of its kind is the Seacole centre, and a new online health advice and support platform which can be accessed at home.

The government has recently published guidance for those who are suffering long-term effects of the virus.

It states that around 10 per cent of mild coronavirus cases who were not admitted to hospital have reported symptoms lasting more than four weeks.

And a number of people admitted to hospital reported continuing symptoms for eight or more weeks following discharge.

It comes as researchers in Glasgow launched a study examining the long-term health impacts of Covid-19.

The study is set to measure prevalence and risk factors of long-term health and psychosocial consequences of the disease.

Experts are recruiting hospitals and healthcare sites around the world to join the study.

Dr Janet Scott, of the MRC-University of Glasgow's Centre for Virus Research, said: "It is vitally important that we are able to understand the long-term risk factors and health conditions associated with Covid-19, in order to ensure we are delivering the very best healthcare to patients in the long term.

"In order to do this, the assessment of risk factors for longer-term consequences requires a longitudinal study, with data on pre-existing conditions and care received during the acute phase of the Covid-19 illness all linked together."

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