What is long COVID?

COVID disease is an infection caused by a coronavirus. Long COVID is a term to describe the effects of COVID-19 that continue for weeks or months beyond the initial illness. The health watchdog NICE defines long COVID as lasting for more than 12 weeks, although some other people consider symptoms that last more than eight weeks to be long COVID.

Details of how some people are affected by long COVID are still emerging, but research suggests around one in five people who test positive for COVID-19 have symptoms for five weeks or longer. For around one in ten people, they last 12 weeks or longer.

These long-term effects are often reported by people who didn’t need to go to hospital during the acute phase of COVID.

Long COVID symptoms commonly experienced by patients we have already assessed include:

  • fatigue
  • breathlessness
  • anxiety and depression
  • palpitations
  • chest pains
  • joint or muscle pain
  • not being able to think straight or focus (‘brain fog’)
  • dizziness
  • persistent cough
  • loss of taste or sense of smell

BSW Long Covid Rehabilitation Guide