Long-COVID – What We Know So Far

Most people who have caught COVID-19 have recovered relatively quickly. But a significant amount of people diagnosed with COVID-19 have reported having symptoms for more than four weeks.


What are the symptoms?

Most common symptoms are:

  • shortness of breath
  • ‘brain fog’
  • fatigue
  • persistent cough
  • headaches
  • changes to taste and smell

The NHS COVID Recovery Plan notes that patients may also experience “changes in mood…and thinking”, including anxiety and depression.

But these are just a few symptoms. One study by the UCL (University College London) found 200 different symptoms. While the severity of these symptoms varies, they greatly affect people’s day-to-day function, including their ability to work. One survey found that 45% of people with long-COVID had a reduced work schedule compared with pre-COVID, and 22.3% were completely unable to work.

How many have been affected by long-COVID? According to the Office of National Statistics, 1.1 million people self-reported long-COVID symptoms in March 2021.

There’s a lot we still don’t know. The need for research into long-COVID will hopefully be addressed with 15 new studies being launched in the UK. Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“Long COVID can have serious and debilitating long-term effects for thousands of people across the UK which can make daily life extremely challenging.

This new research is absolutely essential to improve diagnosis and treatments and will be life-changing for those who are battling long-term symptoms of the virus.”

What options are there?

The potential effect of long-COVID for primary care and mental health services is daunting. The NHS has funding for specialist long-COVID clinics. These are staffed by a range of different disciplines, including clinical psychology.

CBT is proven to help patients with anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue. This talking therapy will have a large role to play in supporting people with long-COVID back to full functioning. Established CBT techniques for supporting long-term conditions are already being used at the front line to support patients with long-COVID.

If you would like more information, please contact us directly for a chat by phoning us on 01608 737614 or by emailing sian.thrasher@cbtnetworks.com.


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