Up to 139,000 Londoners have had or are still experiencing long Covid according to new figures from the London Assembly.
New research from the Office for National Statistics estimates that one in five people across the UK has had or still has long Covid, where symptoms such as fatigue or breathing problems persist for weeks or months after getting infected.
With a total of 697,782 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in London so far, the London Assembly’s health committee has estimated that up to 139,000 people in the capital have experienced long Covid, prompting calls for more support.
Dr Onkar Sahota, chair of the Assembly’s health committee, said: “COVID cases may be falling around the city but the long-term side effects of this horrific virus are causing worry, stress and despair for many people who have yet to receive a diagnosis. There is increasing recognition that long COVID is affecting tens of thousands of people, has unknown long-term health effects and makes life miserable for those that get it and their families. Those suffering from long COVID will endure greater stress and will need extra support to make a full recovery.
“Londoners, who before catching COVID-19 were healthy and active are now no longer able to walk or run the distances that they used to without getting out of breath. Some people who are experiencing long COVID have been unable to work or walk 10 metres without needing to take a break. For many, COVID does not go away after two weeks, it lingers making life a misery for those it refuses to leave.”
Following the latest figures, Dr Sahota said “our city must be prepared to treat those Londoners who are experiencing prolonged symptoms linked to this deadly virus”.
The health committee has written to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan calling on him to outline his plans to support those who are experiencing “life-changing” long Covid symptoms.