Long covid

I’m not ill but I’m not as I was: how Covid takes its toll

If it’s true that the virus finds your weak spot, it has lodged itself like an evil monkey in my head. After departing from every other bit of my body, it was still in my brain. It told me I didn’t need friends any more. So, as I moped about the house ‘self-isolating’, I sent a series of very odd text messages, telling my friends what the monkey thought I thought of them. The monkey also told me his theory that there is no such thing as long Covid. All Covid is long. I would never get over it: ‘Well, have the authorities bothered to conduct any research to find

Has the vaccine cured my long Covid?

Everyone has their own Covid-19 story, and here’s mine. I caught it in Marks & Spencer in late March last year, when 200 clearly deranged panic-buyers set about stripping the store of its every last ready meal. Web designers grasping the last known packet of Our Best Ever Prawn Cocktail, estate agents fighting over the gooseberry and elderflower yoghurts: it felt like the end of times, and was actually one of the scariest experiences I have ever had. My friend Russell got it at around the same point at his daughter’s PTA meeting. He spent five weeks in hospital. Another parent died. There were four of us in this small

What will it take to tackle long Covid?

With just under 500,000 patients admitted to hospitals in Britain since the start of the pandemic, we need to talk about ‘long Covid’. Why? Because while the vaccine rollout is undoubtedly saving many lives, there is going to be a forbidding secondary impact from this virus on the nation’s health, the scale of which is only just becoming apparent.  What does ‘long Covid’ conjure in your mind? For many, it has become synonymous with fatigue and brain fog, symptoms which are fairly common. But what is less well known is that the impact of Covid-19 on patients can extend far beyond these symptoms alone. Alongside some of the mental health problems from the pandemic, this presents a

The ‘long Covid’ time bomb: an interview with Tim Spector

It sometimes seems as if Professor Tim Spector, of King’s College London, was conjured up especially to be a walking, talking rebuke to Public Health England. Where PHE has been lumbering, slow to respond to the fast-moving virus, Spector has been nimble, quick to see opportunity and adapt. This time last year, as Boris was preoccupied with the defining question of his premiership — who could possibly have leaked a disobliging story about his girlfriend’s dog — Tim Spector was concocting a plan for how to collect data about Covid from around the country. His Covid Symptom Study app (CSS), a year old this week, has been a triumph. There

The mysteries of ‘long Covid’

Soon, as the rates of coronavirus deaths and infections plummet, we’re likely to focus more on those who suffer what is being called ‘long Covid’ — yet the truth is we know very little about what precisely it is. Long Covid began as a quiet murmur in the background: anecdotal stories about symptoms which extended beyond the predicted 14-day recovery time. There’s no agreed definition, so it’s hard to say how many sufferers there are, but a survey from the Office for National Statistics suggests it affects as many as one in ten of those who have had the virus. As the second wave retreats, the number of people left

A vaccine won’t solve all our Covid problems

Today’s Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine update has raised hopes that life in Britain could start getting back to normal by spring. But cheers in Downing Street didn’t extend to AstraZeneca’s share price, which fell by nearly three per cent in response to the news. Why the dip in the wake of such good news? AstraZeneca vaccine’s effectiveness – recorded at 70 per cent – is notably lower than its Pfizer and Moderna competitors. What’s more, the 70 per cent figure has been reached by averaging results from two groups who received the vaccine in different doses: a smaller group, who were given half a dose at first, recorded a 90 per cent efficiency rate, and