It might surprise you to know that there is still no formal definition of long Covid, even though the term has been used a lot in both the media and scientific literature over the past 6 months or more. Long Covid is the term commonly used to describe the persistence of symptoms in a person who has had Covid-19 infection and “should have got better”, but in whom symptoms persist. However, there is no consensus on what these symptoms are or how long they must be present before they constitute long Covid. Channel 4’s Dispatches, aired on 16th March, reported from Bradford one of the country’s worst hit Covid-19 regions and gave a glimpse into the lives of some people suffering the after effects of Covid-19.
In the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline for managing the long-term effects of Covid-19 they refer to long Covid as “the persistence of symptoms or signs of Covid-19 more than 4 weeks after the initial illness”, with the caveat that there isn’t another explanation for the patients symptoms or signs. However other groups, such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) use 5 weeks as the lower limit of time.
Well, we can’t agree on a time scale, surely we can agree what the symptoms are… can’t we?