ONS statistics show shadow cast by long Covid is “even worse than feared”

Around one in sixteen (6.2%) UK adults have experienced long Covid at some point during the pandemic, ONS data published today has revealed.

Of those who may have experienced long COVID, almost a quarter (22%) reported their household finances had been affected by the pandemic while three in ten (30%) reported experiencing moderate to severe depressive symptoms in the last 2 weeks.

It comes after a cross-party letter from over 60 MPs and peers to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid, coordinated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, called for a “comprehensive strategy” to address the threat posed by long Covid to the NHS and economy. 

Layla Moran MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group said:

“These striking figures highlight the immense impact long Covid is having on people’s day-to-day lives, and the total inadequacy of the government’s response so far.

“From people’s mental health to their household finances, the shadow cast by long Covid over our society is even worse than feared. 

“Boris Johnson’s reckless choice to allow cases to surge risks leaving more people with this debilitating condition, with devastating consequences for the economy and NHS.

“An urgent strategy is needed to respond to the threat posed by long Covid and provide support to the thousands of people suffering from the long term consequences of this pandemic.” 

 

ENDS

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Notes to Editor

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on coronavirus is conducting a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic and has so far held over 20 hearings and made over 40 recommendations. The APPG has made a series of recommendations to improve support for those living with long Covid, after receiving evidence from a large number of long Covid sufferers. These include

A recent investigation by the APPG on Coronavirus revealed that some long Covid patients are waiting over 100 days for treatment. Several NHS trusts pointed to financial and operational pressures that have delayed the setting up of long Covid clinics. 

The APPG on Coronavirus recently coordinated a cross-party letter to health secretary Sajid Javid calling for an urgent strategy to tackle the threat posed by long Covid. It said this strategy should include:

  • Collecting regular data on the number of long Covid cases and estimates of how these will be impacted by government decisions, including the dropping of current public health measures on 19 July 2021. Long Covid should be considered by the government as a key parameter in the same way as hospitalisations and deaths.

  • Providing sustained investment in long Covid clinics and rehabilitation services, to reduce waiting times for treatment and ensure patients receive the care they deserve. The current postcode lottery of care facing long Covid patients must be fixed.

  • Immediately setting up a scheme to provide ongoing financial support for key workers living with long Covid who have been unable to return to work. The government has a moral obligation to support those who caught long Covid on the frontline and now are paying the price.

  • Coordinating with HM Treasury to carry out a thorough assessment of the impact of long Covid on the UK economy, workforce, tax revenues and health service. This assessment should be used to inform future government decisions on its response to the pandemic.

  • Providing urgent clarity over whether school-aged children will be given access to the vaccine, given they are at risk of developing long Covid. The government should also focus on making school buildings safer including through ventilation and other mitigation measures.