Long COVID in the United Kingdom (UK) - statistics & facts
As of February 8, 2022, over 17.9 million people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. While the majority of people who contract COVID-19 will not become extremely ill with the virus, there is increasing recognition, particularly as experts learn more, that many can experience symptoms that last for a long time after the initial infection. This has been termed commonly as ‘long COVID,’ or post-COVID-19 syndrome. The most common symptoms for sufferers are weakness and tiredness, shortness of breath, and loss of smell.
Being fully vaccinated and ensuring a significant proportion of the population is vaccinated is the best way to avoid the spread of COVID-19 according to the WHO. A reduced risk of catching the virus consequently limits the chance of developing long COVID symptoms. As of February 7, 2022, around 52.4 million first doses, 46.7 million second doses, and 37.6 booster doses had been administered in the UK. Since most restrictions were lifted in July, 2021 there were worries among some experts this opened some risks for younger adults and teenagers since they were less likely to be fully vaccinated at this point. While this age group is not generally at risk of developing a serious illness from COVID-19, problems can result from long COVID. It was estimated that as of January, 2022, over 1.8 percent of the population aged between 12 and 16 years of age in the UK suffered from symptoms of long COVID. Some improvements in long COVID symptoms have been noted in people after they received a vaccine, but otherwise, no cure currently exists for this condition according to doctors and experts in the healthcare industry.
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Research expert covering health & pharmaceuticals in the UK & Europe