ONE in ten Brits under 50 may get long Covid if they contract the virus Matt Hancock revealed today.
The Health Sec revealed the alarming news in the House of Commons to MPs this afternoon in a coronavirus statement.
It’s thought that hundreds of thousands of people who have contracted the virus are still suffering with symptoms including shortness of breath, fatigue in the weeks and months after they catch the bug.
Around one in 50 patients suffer for three months and researchers from King’s College London have stated that there are five factors that put you at risk of ongoing suffering.
The umbrella term covers those who have recovered from the bug – but have since been left with issues such as fatigue, respiratory problems and mental health issues.
On long Covid, Mr Hancock said: “The virus can affect anyone, or any age and any background.
“We have already seen worrying numbers of young, fit, healthy people suffering debilitating symptoms months after contracting Covid.
“Yesterday, a study by King’s College London showed that one in 20 people with coronavirus is likely to have virus symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness, muscle pain and neurological problems for eight weeks or more.”
But he added: “in the under 50 year old adults its more like one in ten.”
“There does seem to be some correlation that implies that it is more of a problem amongst younger people.
“Understanding this long Covid is still in its early stages and an awful lot more research is needed.”
He said he had met people in their 20s and 30s “unable to work, sapped of all their energy, living with the effects of a virus that has completely changed their lives.”
And he warned: “To anyone of any age – catching covid can be very grave indeed.”
BOUTS OF ILLNESS 3 MONTHS LATER
There appears to be no correlation between how bad the virus is when people catch it and whether they get long-term problems.
In some cases people have no symptoms initially and can find they have months and months of other symptoms, he added.
But according to the KCL study, people who had a greater number of different symptoms in the first week of being ill were more likely to have prolonged health problems.
It found those who had more than five symptoms in the first week were as much as three times more likely to have long Covid.
And women were 50 per cent more likely to suffer from long-term symptoms than men – but only in the under-50s age group.
Those who developed long Covid also had a slightly higher average body mass index (BMI) than those that didn’t, suggesting weight could play a factor.
Yesterday, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens told a conference of health professionals: “It’s a real thing. It looks as if perhaps 10% of people who’ve had coronavirus have lingering symptoms for up to three months after having had Covid.”
A smaller group of people – roughly 60,000 Brits – suffer from bouts of illness more than three months after symptoms.
And as cases of coronavirus have finally started to drop in the youngest age groups – after huge surges of 17-29 year old’s catching the bug – it is believed even healthy Brits are wary of winding up with months of symptoms.
There have been some shocking tales of people succumbing to persisting symptoms.
One father, who survived 60 days in hospital with coronavirus, died after suffering from what was believed to be long Covid.
Mr Hancock also revealed today that Slough, Coventry and Stoke on Trent are moving into Tier 2 lockdown from midnight on Friday – meaning a ban on household mixing.
And he is starting talks with Warrington about moving to Tier 3 – the highest level of restrictions.
Manchester Nightingale hospital is also to reopen today to help deal with the increase in cases in the region.