North East has highest rate of Long Covid cases in the country, new data suggests

By Sam Volpe

Government data estimates a higher proportion of people in the North East are suffering from Long Covid than anywhere else in the country.

An Office of National Statistics (ONS) survey suggests 69,000 people in the region self-reported having some symptoms of the condition - that's 2.69% of people here.

The next worst affected area is the North West - where the ONS thinks 2.05% of people had the condition at the beginning of September.

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Across the UK, it's thought that 1.68% of people had Long Covid at the time the survey was conducted.

The ONS also analysed which job sectors were most likely to see workers suffer symptoms.

Unsurprisingly, the data shows the most affected group to be healthcare workers - 3.07% of whom are thought to have Long Covid.

Tyneside GP Dr Susannah Thompson told ChronicleLive this week how developing Long Covid had left her in a wheelchair.

She said: "I thought that if I just kept going, did a little more each day I would get better. I’d been tired before, worked long shifts, weeks of nights, but this was different."

The data covers the four weeks up until September 5, and is based on answers to survey questions rather than the numbers of official diagnoses.

The most commonly reported symptoms of Long Covid were tiredness, loss of smell and shortness of breath, but in rarer cases people reported chest pain, vertigo or even vomiting.

Of those asked, almost 1% of people in the North East said they still had some symptoms more than a year after being diagnosed with Covid-19 in the first place.

The Independent reported on Saturday that Health Secretary Sajid Javid had been briefed about growing concerns around Long Covid at the end of September.

Mr Javid was said to be "alarmed" by news that thousands are being referred to Long Covid clinics each month.

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