New ONS figures reveal more than 750,000 people report having long Covid for over a year

More than three-quarters of a million people in the UK say they have experienced long Covid that has lasted for at least a year, new figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates 1.7 million people were likely to be experiencing symptoms of long Covid in the four weeks to March 5, the equivalent of 2.7% of the population.

This is up 13% from 1.5 million people a month earlier, and includes 784,000 people who first had Covid-19, or suspected they had the virus, at least one year ago – the highest number so far.

The new data, published on Thursday, also shows long Covid symptoms are estimated to be adversely affecting the day-to-day activities of 1.1 million people, around two-thirds of those with self-reported long Covid.

Some 322,000 people (19%) reported their ability to undertake day-to-day activities has been “limited a lot”, the ONS said.

Fatigue continues to be the most common symptom (experienced by 51% of those with self-reported long Covid), followed by shortness of breath (34%), loss of smell (28%) and then muscle ache (24%).

Of the 1.7 million, 1.2 million (69%) first had coronavirus – or suspected they had it – at least 12 weeks previously, while 784,000 (45%) first had Covid at least a year earlier, and 74,000 (4%) at least two years ago.

The ONS said prevalence of self-reported long Covid was greatest in people aged 35 to 49, females, people living in more deprived areas, those working in social care, teaching and education or health care, and those with another activity-limiting health condition or disability.

The ONS figures are based on self-reported long Covid from a representative sample of people in private households in the four weeks to March 5.

Self-reported long Covid is defined as symptoms persisting for more than four weeks after a first suspected coronavirus infection that could not be explained by something else.

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