New research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that more than half of those who are suffering ‘from’ long Covid might not actually have it and could simply be suffering from normal bouts of ill health. The Telegraph has the story.
The ONS surveyed nearly 27,000 people, who tested positive for Covid, in the U.K. Coronavirus Infection Survey and used three different methods to estimate the prevalence of long Covid.
In one analysis, they found that 5% reported at least one symptom 12 to 16 weeks after their infection.
However, the study also found that 3.4% of people who had not been diagnosed with Covid also reported the same long Covid symptoms.
Kevin McConway, Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics at the Open University, said: “That’s not all that much less than the 5.0% for the infected people, which does show that having one or more of these symptoms isn’t uncommon regardless of Covid.”
Long Covid symptoms are fever, headache, muscle ache, weakness/tiredness, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste and loss of smell.
However, the ONS said that such conditions were experienced regularly within the general population.
A second analysis found that just 3% of people reported continuous symptoms for at least 12 weeks after an infection, compared to 0.5% of the control population.
However, in a third analysis, when the group was asked to self-identify as suffering from long Covid, 11.7% said that they believed they had the condition, with 7.5% saying the condition limited their day-to-day activities.
When confined to only people who had suffered symptomatic Covid, the number saying they suffered from the condition rose to 17.7%.
Previous studies have suggested up to a fifth of people catching Covid will suffer from long-term after-effects.
The ONS said that depending on which measure was used, the data showed between three and 11.7% of Covid cases still had symptoms 12 weeks after an infection.
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