Covid-19 after-effects could be more destructive than excess ...

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Covid-19 after-effects could be more destructive than excess deaths

Apart from the burden on health systems, long Covid is taking working-age people out of the economy

Eleanor Steafel

Many are so fatigued they have barely been able to walk up stairs for months, others still get short of breath from the simplest task and, for some, every bite of food tastes of ash.

For the growing number of people with what is known as “long Covid”, living with the after-effects of Covid-19 has been harder than the virus. Now, experts say it could turn out to be a bigger public health problem than the excess deaths that have occurred since the start of the pandemic.

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and the scientist behind Britain’s symptom-tracking app, says long Covid sufferers could turn out to be the real public health fallout of this period. These so-called “long haulers”, with quietly debilitating symptoms that baffle doctors and prove difficult or even impossible to treat, have shown that the virus can act like an autoimmune disease in some, affecting multiple parts of the body long after the initial illness subsides...

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