Long Covid cases should be recorded in the same way as hospitalizations and deaths from coronavirus, a Westminster multi-stakeholder group recommends today.
Some 65 MPs and peers have written to Boris Johnson urging him to consider the untold human suffering caused by the long-term effects of the disease and the risk that more people will develop the disease as the lockdown is eased.
Their letter calls on the government to collect data on Long Covid cases and take into account future decisions on virus containment measures, in the same way as for hospitalizations and deaths.
Failure to follow the advice would mean that prime ministers pledging to be guided by data and not by dates risks becoming an empty slogan, they say.
The latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics suggest that around 1.1 million people in the UK are living with Long Covid.
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on the coronavirus, said: The impact of Long Covid was largely overlooked during the first and second waves of this pandemic.
Given that we now know that 1.1 million people across the country suffer from this disease, it would be unforgivable to make the same mistake again.
Boris Johnson has promised to be guided by data, not dates.
This must include releasing regular figures on Long Covid cases and factoring them into the government’s roadmap to come out of the current lockdown.
The letter to the Prime Minister signed by 32 MPs and 33 peers from eight parties cites figures showing that Long Covid has had a disproportionate impact on key workers on the frontlines of the pandemic, including around 122,000 in healthcare, 114,000 in education and education, 31,000 in care and 30,000 in transport.
He warns the Prime Minister: cases, hospitalizations and deaths are not the only measure of this pandemic.
We urge the Government to also count the number of people who remain with Long Covid, many of whom have been devastated by this pandemic.
Your government is committed to being guided by “data, not dates”.
This commitment risks becoming an empty slogan unless full data is collected on Long Covid and factored into future decisions.
Labor MP Andrew Gwynne, who sits in the group and has suffered from Long Covid, said: The government’s current approach appears to focus only on the short term, while ignoring the long-term consequences of the coronavirus and human suffering that it provokes.
It risks setting off a time bomb for our NHS, our economy and the key workers most likely to be affected by Long Covid.
It is crucial that Boris Johnson listens to his own science advisers and addresses the impact of Long Covid on communities across the country.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: Covid-19 can have long lasting and debilitating effects on the lives of those affected and we are doing all we can to help, with nearly 70 specialist clinics open across the country to improve the treatment.
We are always learning more about Long Covid and have already invested more than 30 million research funds to support innovative projects. On top of that, we’re also launching a new $ 20 million call for research into the long-term impacts of COVID-19 through the National Institute for Health Research.
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