Long COVID in England

A recent study describes the effects and patterns of long COVID in England. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Omicron seems to cause far less long COVID (about 60% less; table S3), though that is conflated with the availability of vaccines (Fig. 1).
  2. As seen in many other studies, the severity of symptoms in the initial phases of disease dramatically affect the chance of developing long COVID.
  3. Women are about 50% more likely to get long COVID (again, mirroring other studies).
  4. Vaccination doesn’t appear to play a direct role in reducing long COVID cases that last for less than one year. It does, however, make it far more likely that you have a mild case of COVID, dramatically lowering the risk of long COVID at all.
  5. Vaccination does appear to reduce the likelihood of long COVID lasting for more than one year.
  6. Most of the long COVID symptoms appear at a frequency in the low to mid single digits, though these data are unweighted.

So the good news is that the extent and frequency of long COVID is much lower if you’re vaccinated; there also appears to be a decrease of long COVID due to the Omicron variant. That said, it still appears that the frequency of long-term symptoms in a 3-12 month window is non-trivial.

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