People who say they’re experiencing Long Covid have admitted they feel ‘disabled’ and have been left crippled financially due to their inability to work.
In the YouTube short film, created by producer Anouk Curry and Ali Hobbs for the campaign group Covid19: The Untold Story, British patients as young as 13 detail the symptoms they’ve experienced, ranging from gastric issues, headaches and severe lethargy to feeling like you’re having a heart attack.
While rehabilitation clinics are being set up across England to treat thousands of patients with Long Covid, they reperesent a tiny portion with only one per cent of patients still ill six months later.
The proportion is likely a lot lower when everyone who never tested positive or realised they had the illness is taken into account.
Personal trainer Dan Scoble, 22, from Oxford, reveals he feels worse now than he did when he first contracted coronavirus four months ago – and is terrified he will never get better.
‘I have spent the last eight years doing five to six to seven hours of very intense cardio every week,’ he said. ‘We’re four months into this and I would argue that I feel worse now than I did during the first two weeks.
In a YouTube short film, created by the campaign group Covid19: The Untold Story, one man (pictured) reveals he feels worse now than he did when he first contracted coronavirus four months ago – and is terrified he will never get better
‘That completely destroys the narrative that this is an acute illness, you get an initial dose of it and then your body fights it off and then you’re fine… why am I getting worse?’
Yesterday the head of NHS England announced people with Long Covid symptoms will be offered specialist help at clinics across the country – a lifeline to those who have felt deprived of answers and support for months.
Sir Simon Stevens said there were ‘tens of thousands’ and potentially hundreds of thousands of patients affected.
Both Anouk and Ali decided to make the film after battling with Long Covid themselves for four months. In the video, personal trainer Dan said his body feels like it’s had a ‘disease’.
Personal trainer Dan Scoble (pictured) said his body feels like it’s had a ‘disease’ and admits he feels disabled
Dan (pictured before he became ill) told how he used to run up to seven miles a week, trained up to five times a week and delivered between 25 and 26 hours of personal training, on top of walks most days
A 13-year-old girl claimed she has had coronavirus for three months and is plagued by ‘terrible headaches’ which leave her unable to think
‘It’s almost overwhelming to be asked what is wrong with you, because there is so much going on you don’t know what to start with,’ he explained.
‘You go from a sore throat to sore eyes to sore bones, stabbing pains, tingling, dead arms, dead legs, dizziness, brain fog, just everything you can imagine really.’
Who’s most likely to have long Covid?
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London is leader of the Covid Symptoms Study, published in July.
He said in a BMJ panel discussion that long covid is about twice as common in women as in men, according to data.
He added the average age of someone presenting with it was about four years older than people who had what might be termed as ‘short covid.’
He told how he used to run up to seven miles a week, trained up to five times a week and delivered between 25 and 26 hours of personal training, on top of walks most days.
‘I can tell you that’s not only gone but I don’t know when that’s going to come back,’ he admitted.
‘I feel disabled, long story short. I feel like I’m actually disabled. There are thousands of us like myself who are becoming crippled with illness, and people my age, in my generation don’t know that this can affect them as it has affected me. We need help, we need to be recognised and we need answers.’
Six weeks on from his interview, Dan has been admitted to hospital four times and suffered a collapsed lung.
Another patient, Tony Mann, who is in his thirties, explained how his Long Covid symptoms – which include dizziness, vertigo and disorientation – has put enormous financial strain on his family.
‘My wife was working at the local care home and she had to quit her job just to care for me, which has put enormous financial pressure and strain on us as a family and we’re in a lot of trouble now,’ he said.
Meanwhile a 13-year-old girl claimed she has had coronavirus for three months and is plagued by ‘terrible headaches’ which leave her unable to think.
‘I want to be better so I can do things, but I can’t,’ she said.
Trainee yoga teacher Charlie Mountford Hill, who used to run up to 10km three times a week and regularly go to the gym, said she too has suffered from gastric issues, headaches and severe lethargy since contracting Covid-19. She ended up in A&E in March because she was struggling to breathe.
Tony Mann (pictured) explained how his Long Covid symptoms – which include dizziness, vertigo and disorientation – has put enormous financial strain on his family
Tony’s wife (pictured together before his ordeal) was working at the local care home and she had to quit her job to care for him, which has put enormous financial pressure and strain on the couple
Trainee yoga teacher Charlie Mountford Hill (pictured) who used to run up to 10km three times a week and regularly go to the gym said she too has suffered from gastric issues, headaches and severe lethargy since contracting Covid-19
Charlie says her life has ‘changed forever’ due to all five of her children suffering from ‘Long Covid’ symptoms. Pictured with them and husband Zed before the virus struck
‘We’re now six months down the line and it’s been a horrific six months of hospital trips, of doctors trips, frustration and just generally having no answers and really no support,’ she stressed.
Mother-of-five Charlie, 37, from Milton Keynes, told the Mirror her life has ‘changed forever’ due to all of her children suffering from Long Covid symptoms.
Two of them contracted coronavirus in March but the remaining three appeared to dodge it. However, approximately a month later all five of them began displaying what she is certain is Long Covid symptoms, ranging from skin rashes to extreme nose bleeds, diarrhea and ‘Covid toe’ – where they become discoloured and swollen.
Earlier this week a new report by King’s College London revealed that around 10 per cent of coronavirus patients who took part in its survey showed Long Covid symptoms such as breathlessness and chronic fatigue for a month after infection. As many as two per cent were still experiencing such symptoms after three months.
In a manifesto published in the British Medical Journal last month, a cohort of 39 doctors wrote of their battle with long Covid, and called for more research and clinical services to treat the symptoms of it.
Ayesha (pictured) told how she experiences constant fatigue and every week it gets ‘scarier and scarier’. She said: ‘It requires so much energy to be focused on trying to get better… some days you have it and some days you don’t’
This experience is echoed by thousands of Facebook users who have joined groups including the Long Covid Support Group, which already has nearly 25,000 members, in a search for greater support and answers to their health questions.
Many have told how they have not been taken seriously by doctors when they present with symptoms of long Covid.
Yesterday Sir Simon said £10million will be invested this year into setting up Long Covid clinics in every area across England to provide one-stop services for physical and mental health issues.
Patients will have access to assessments for health issues, memory problems or mental health conditions including depression and anxiety and can be referred to other specialist clinics if required.
WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?
Most coronavirus patients will recover within a fortnight, suffering a fever, cough and losing their sense of smell or taste for several days.
However, evidence is beginning to show that the tell-tale symptoms of the virus can persist for weeks on end in ‘long haulers’ — the term for patients plagued by lasting complications.
Data from the COVID Symptom Study app, by King’s College London and health company Zoe, suggests one in ten people may still have symptoms after three weeks, and some may suffer for months.
Long term symptoms include:
- Chronic tiredness
- Raised heart rate
- Loss of taste/smell
- Kidney disease
- Mobility issues
- Muscle pains
For those with more severe disease, Italian researchers who tracked 143 people who had been hospitalised with the disease found almost 90 per cent still had symptoms including fatigue two months after first falling unwell.
The most common complaints were fatigue, a shortness of breath and joint pain – all of which were reported during their battle with the illness.
Another study in Italy showed one in ten people who lose their sense of taste and smell with the coronavirus – now recognised as a key sign of the infection – may not get it back within a month.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, involved 187 Italians who had the virus but who were not ill enough to be admitted to hospital.
The UK’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has said the longer term impacts of Covid-19 on health ‘may be significant’.
Support groups such as Long Covid have popped up online for those who ‘have suspected Covid-19 and your experience doesn’t follow the textbook symptoms or recovery time’.