Healthcare news

Chris Whitty warns long Covid will increase, particularly among the young

Those affected by long Covid report a range of problems including severe fatigue, breathlessness, muscle aches and joint pain
Sam Blewett, PA Deputy Political Editor

Professor Chris Whitty has urged people to "push hell for leather" to reduce coronavirus infection rates and roll out the vaccines to prevent a significant increase in long Covid.

England's chief medical officer warned today that young people will be particularly hit by the syndromes after Brtish Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his plans to end nearly all restrictions in England.

Professor Whitty said he expected people who contract the Delta variant of coronavirus to be affected by long Covid at similar rates to previous strains.

But he said that soaring case rates will mean unvaccinated people will be struck by lasting effects of infections in greater numbers.

"Since there's a lot of Covid at the moment and the rates are going up, I regret to say I think we will get a significant amount more long Covid particularly in the younger ages where the vaccination rates are currently much lower," he said during a health discussion at the Local Government Association's annual conference."

"Fundamentally the two ways to prevent long Covid in my view are to keep Covid rates right down and make sure everyone is vaccinated so they get very mild disease and I think we really just need to push hell for leather for those two.

"The deaths from Covid I think are mercifully going to be much lower in this wave compared to the previous ones as a proportion of cases but long Covid remains, I think, a worry."

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