“Long Covid” is genuine and leaves patients suffering debilitating symptoms for many months after their recovery from coronavirus, experts have confirmed.
Campaign groups supporting survivors of the virus have previously warned that doctors are dismissing ongoing problems or misdiagnosing the ongoing effects of Covid-19 as chronic fatigue syndrome.
But in the first study to show a conclusive pattern, researchers at North Bristol NHS Trust found that three quarters of virus patients treated at Bristol’s Southmead Hospital were still experiencing problems three months later.
Symptoms included breathlessness, excessive fatigue and muscle aches, leaving people struggling to wash, dress and return to work.
Dr David Arnold, of North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “This research helps to describe what many coronavirus patients have been telling us – they are still breathless, tired, and not sleeping well months after admission.”
The Long Covid Support Group estimates that up to half a million Britons could be suffering from the effects.
Data from the King’s College London symptom tracker app showed that between 200,000 and 500,000 people in the UK are currently living with symptoms which also include psychosis and loss of eyesight (see graphic below for details of the long-term effects).