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Two million Britons now living with long COVID

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Omicron CoVID cells The rising number of long COVID cases reflects the impact of the Omicron variant

New figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have estimated that a record two million people are now suffering from COVID-19 in the UK, with 400,000 reporting that it was adversely affecting their day-to-day life.

The NHS advises that symptoms of long COVID can include, but are not restricted to, fatigue; shortness of breath; chest pains; problems with memory and concentration; changes to taste and smell; and joint pain. According to the ONS, 826,000 of those having experienced symptoms for over a year.

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It added that the rates of long COVID were highest among women, those aged 35 to 69 years, people living in more deprived areas, those working in social care, teaching and education or health care, and those with other health conditions or disabilities.

Estimates for long COVID have risen sharply from 1.3 million since the start of the year. Experts believe this reflects the impact of the Omicron variant of the virus. Nearly a third of long COVID sufferers first had the virus, or suspected they had it, during the Omicron period.

The new ONS figures are based on self-reported long COVID from a representative sample of people in private households in the four weeks to 1 May.

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