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April 5, 2022

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long COVID

Impact of long COVID on the UK Workforce

Latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 1.5 million people in the UK were experiencing long COVID as of the end of January 2022 based on self-reporting of COVID symptoms persisting for over four weeks.

corona face maskReported long COVID was most common in those aged 35-49, females, people living in deprived areas, those employed in education or health and social care, and people who already had underlying health conditions or a disability that limits their day-to-day activities.

Of those reporting long COVID, 71% first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 at least 12 weeks prior to the study; 65% of those said this it adversely affected their day-to-day activities.

In July 2021, the ONS published an analysis of the impacts of long COVID on adults in Great Britain, including analysis of how it had impacted on their work.

Of those who said they were experiencing long COVID, 40% reported that it was negatively affecting their work, although this proportion differed for different groups of people:

  • There was a high proportion of people aged 30-49 who reported long COVID was negatively affecting their work than for other age groups – 51% of 30–49-year-olds reported this was the case, compared to 32% of 16–29-year-olds and 30% of 50–69-year-olds
  • 45% of men with long COVID reported it was negatively impacting their work compared to 36% of women
  • 48% of disabled people with long COVID reported it was negatively affecting their work compared to 35% of people who are not disabled.

These statistics were provided to aid a backbench business debate on the impact of Long COVID on the UK Workforce which took place in the House of Commons Chamber on Thursday 24 March 2022.

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