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We're about to see a wave of long Covid. When will ministers take it seriously?

2 300 2512
21.01.2021

Perhaps to a greater extent than at any point since the first world war, we find that our lives do not matter to those who govern us. Boris Johnson scarcely seeks to disguise his insouciance and callousness. He scarcely mentions the astonishing death toll caused by his mishandling of the pandemic: to acknowledge it would be to acknowledge his responsibility.

But not only the dead are missing from his moral atlas. So are those with long-term conditions caused by Covid-19. They are likely, already, to number in the tens of thousands. If Johnson eases restrictions when most older people have been vaccinated, there could be tens of thousands more.

Long Covid is no respecter of youth, health or fitness. It afflicts more women than men but it can strike anyone down, including people whose initial infection seemed mild, or even asymptomatic. In some cases, long Covid could mean lifelong Covid.

The effects can be horrible. Among them are lung damage, heart damage and brain damage that can cause memory loss and brain fog, kidney damage, severe headaches, muscle and joint pain, loss of taste and smell, anxiety, depression and, above all, fatigue. We should all fear the lasting consequences of this pandemic.

Long Covid is shorthand for a range of conditions. Some scientists divide them into three broad categories, others into four. Of these, one seems to ring a bell. It’s a cluster of symptoms that bear a strong similarity to myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). This is a devastating condition that affects roughly a quarter of a million people in the UK, and is often caused, like........

© The Guardian


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