Person washing their hands

New film released to warn of long-term effects of Covid-19

Young people in particular are being urged by the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, to follow the rules and protect themselves and others from Covid-19, as new data and a new film released today shows the potentially devastating long-term impact of the virus.

The symptoms of what is being called, ‘long Covid’, includes fatigue, protracted loss of taste or smell, respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms and mental health problems, are described in a new film being released today as part of the wider national Hands, Face, Space campaign.

The film calls on the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control the spread of the virus.

The film features stories from people directly affected. Jade, 22, Jade, 32, Tom, 32 and John, 48, who divulge into how their lives have bene affected, weeks and months after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

They talk about symptoms such as breathlessness when walking up the stairs, intermittent fevers and chest pain. The film aims to raise awareness of the long-term impact of Covid-19 as we learn more about the virus as time goes on.

A new study released today from King’s College London, using data from the Covid Symptom Study App and ZOE, shows one in 20 people with Covid-19 are likely to have symptoms for 8 weeks or more. The study suggests long Covid affects around 10% of 18 to 49-year olds who become unwell with Covid-19.

Public Health England have discovered that around 10% of Covid-19 cases who were not admitted to hospital have reported symptoms lasting more than four weeks and a number of hospitalised cases reported continuing symptoms for eight or more weeks after discharge.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I am acutely aware of the lasting and debilitating impact long Covid can have on people of all ages, irrespective of the seriousness of the initial symptoms. The findings from researchers at King’s College London are stark and this should be a sharp reminder to the public, including to young people, that Covid-19 is indiscriminate and can have long-term and potentially devastating effects.

“The more people take risks by meeting up in large groups or not social distancing, the more the wider population will suffer, and the more cases of long Covid we will see.

“The powerful new film we’re releasing today sheds light on the long-term impact this devastating virus has and should act as a stark reminder to us all.”

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “The evidence is worrying, Covid-19 is clearly having a long-term impact on some people’s physical and mental health.

“We are moving quickly to stand up rehabilitation facilities and recovery services. These are becoming more accessible with the opening of specialist clinics across England.

“The NHS England Long Covid taskforce will have a big impact, bridging between our research and the care people need. But the public must continue to be aware their behaviour has a huge impact on the spread of this virus and they must take the necessary precautions.”

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NHE May/June 22

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