Long Covid warning as health secretary says one in 10 under-50s are at risk

Telegraph reporters
·2-min read
The health secretary told MPs that a study conducted by King's College London suggests around one in 20 people who catch coronavirus are likely to have long-term symptoms. - AFP 
The health secretary told MPs that a study conducted by King's College London suggests around one in 20 people who catch coronavirus are likely to have long-term symptoms. - AFP

One in 10 people under the age of 50 may suffer from long Covid, Matt Hancock has warned.

The health secretary told MPs that a study conducted by King's College London suggests around one in 20 people who catch coronavirus are likely to have long-term symptoms.

But he added that the figure rises to one in 10 people among those under the age of 50.

Mr Hancock revealed the stark news during a statement on coronavirus in the Commons.

He said: "We have already seen worrying numbers of young, fit, healthy people suffering debilitating symptoms months after contracting Covid.

"Yesterday, a study by King's College London showed that one in 20 people with coronavirus are likely to have virus symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness, muscle pain and neurological problems for eight weeks or more."

After Labour's John Spellar, the MP for Warle asked for more data on the matter, Mr Hancock added: "We have two points of evidence.

"One is the evidence from King's College London which shows that around one in 20 people with coronavirus are likely to have these long term symptoms.

"The other evidence actually implies that in under 50-year-old adults - it is more like one in 10.

"So there does seem to be some sort of correlation which implies that it is more of a problem amongst younger people.

"But understanding long Covid is still in its early stages and an awful lot more research is needed."

Experts have warned that the effects of long covid could be worse a bigger public health problem than excess deaths. 

Prof Tim Spector, the scientist behind King’s College’s symptom-tracking app said symptoms of the virus have been shown to linger for a long time in significant numbers of people. 

"This is the other side of Covid: the long-haulers that could turn out to be a bigger public-health problem than excess deaths from Covid-19, which mainly affect the susceptible elderly,” he said.