Deepti Gurdasani is a British-Indian epidemiologist who is a public researcher at the Queen Mary University of London. This is a part of a thread in which she discusses Long COVID and the implications in the community.
Several studies have put the overall incidence of long COVID between 10-50% of those infected. Scientific consensus is that Long COVID is not just a respiratory disease but a “real” multi-system syndrome that occurs in those infected- predominantly impacting the young. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) data and REACT-1 data compares symptoms post infection among those infected with control groups of those confirmed not to have infection. These are some of the most robust data on Long COVID based on PCR tests through random nationally representative surveys of thousands of people (ONS data 313, 216, and REACT-1 data 508,707 samples).
Here are some highlights:
Most people present with a combination of symptoms and of the 1 million people affected, 2/3rds said it impacted their day-to-day activity. About 400,000 have had persistent symptoms for over 1 year. Sadly this included 9000 children who have been affected for more than a year. Those with the highest risk factors were women, increasing age, smoking, and low income. There is strong evidence that even those with mild symptoms can have long-term structural brain changes including thinning of grey matter in brain areas related to smell, taste, memory and emotion. The risk of organ dysfunction was 38.9% in those aged 19-49 years. This clearly impacts a large proportion of young people.
So to summarize, long COVID is common- even in young children with mild infection. It usually includes multiple symptoms, that in many, affects day-to-day lives. Remember that children under the age of 12 cannot get vaccinated. Let’s do our part and get fully vaccinated for ourselves, our families (and children) and our community.