The report aims to answer questions on the prevalence of, and demographics and risk factors for long COVID, and to answer more questions in the future

Woman with mask

A new report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on ongoing studies investigating the long-term effects of COVID-19 (long COVID), has suggested a prevalence of the condition of 13.7% at 12 weeks post-infection.

Short report on long COVID is an assessment of current evidence, and includes information from the COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study-CONVALESCENCE Study, and the COVID symptom study app. 

The report consists of two parts: questions we can (partially) answer now, and questions we may be able to answer later. Questions that the report partially answers cover definition of long COVID, prevalence, demographics, the effectiveness of vaccines, and risk factors for people with long COVID.

Topline information from the report states:

  • prevalence of long COVID of 13.7% at 12 weeks based on experimental ONS research
  • fatigue is the most frequently reported persistent symptom
  • a wide range in the reported prevalence among children—from 0 to 27%
  • consistent demographic risk factors including increasing age, female sex, overweight/obesity, pre-existing asthma, and pre-pandemic poor physical and mental health
  • non-white ethnic minority groups are less likely to report long COVID
  • health and social care workers report greater levels of long COVID.

Long COVID

According to nhs.uk, symptoms of COVID-19 that persist weeks or months after the infection has gone is classed as long COVID. Symptoms of long COVID include fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, memory and concentration problems, and insomnia, among others. 

Short report on long COVID was prepared by the ONS for the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. The report’s authors state their hopes that ongoing work will provide answers to further questions on definition and prevalence; demographics and risk factors; vaccinations; treatments; variants; reinfection; special groups; and impacts of long COVID on children’s learning, social care, mortality, and demand on the NHS.