The number of people suspected of long-term living with Covid has risen to a record high of two million, new figures show.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates as of May 1, about 3.1 percent of the population suffered from persistent symptoms after contracting the coronavirus.
That includes 826,000 who have been ill with Covid for at least a year – up from 791,000 in April. Around 376,000 people have now been living with the disease for at least two years, the figures show.
The prevalence of Long Covid in the UK has risen sharply since the end of the Omicron wave, which infected millions of people over the winter. Since the beginning of the year, 700,000 people have developed the disease – more than a third of the total.
As of May 1, persistent symptoms affected the daily lives of 1.4 million people, the ONS said, with 398,000 saying their ability to carry out normal activities was “severely reduced”.
The ONS said its estimates were based on self-reported long covid among study participants rather than clinical diagnoses.
Long Covid has been found to be most prevalent among people aged 35 to 69, women, people living in more disadvantaged areas, people working in healthcare, social care or teaching and education, and People with another activity-limiting medical condition or disability. said the ONS.
Fatigue remains the most common symptom of Long Covid (55 percent of cases reported it), followed by shortness of breath (32 percent), cough (23 percent) and muscle aches (23 percent).
The ONS analysis was based on 296,868 coronavirus infection survey responses collected over the four weeks ended May 1, 2022.
Despite the increasing threat posed by the condition and ongoing research to better understand how it develops and who is susceptible, efforts to treat patients have stalled.
The NHS has set up a network of long-running Covid clinics, but the latest data shows that between March 14 and April 10 just 5,818 patients in England received “specialist assessments” at these centres.