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Long Covid is the term used to describe symptoms of Covid-19 that persist for longer than 4 weeks.  In most people, the symptoms of the virus will resolve within 12 weeks but there are some who remain ill for longer.  Studies looking at the symptoms and impacts of long Covid report that people can be left with ongoing symptoms for many months which can have a significant, negative impact on their lives.

Early figures from the Office for National Statistics (based on the Covid infection survey) estimate that one in ten people testing positive for Covid-19 have symptoms that last longer than 12 weeks.

There have been calls for greater recognition and support for those affected by long Covid.  Support and campaign groups report a lack of awareness and understanding amongst the general public and healthcare professionals and state that sufferers can struggle to get the care they need.

In October 2020 NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) announced plans for a network of clinics for people with long-term symptoms arising from Covid-19. NHSEI have also established a long Covid Taskforce, bringing together patients, charities, researchers and clinicians to help manage the NHS approach to long Covid. In December 2020, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing the long-term effects of COVID-19.  This provides guidance on the assessment and care of individuals following an illness consistent with Covid-19 infection where symptoms have lasted for longer than 4 weeks

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