As Orkney sees a huge rise in Covid cases over the past few weeks there is continued concern over the effects of Long Covid. Vaccination rates in the islands have been very good and many young people have had at least one Covid jag. The unfortunate consequence could be that people drop their guard and become complacent.
Whilst immunisation may limit the number of deaths due to Covid, people do still become extremely ill, and even more will continue to suffer from the virus with Long Covid.
Commenting on Long Covid prior to a debate in the Scottish Parliament, Orkney Consituency MSP, LibDem Liamd McArthur said:
“Over the past few months, I have been contacted by a number of constituents suffering from Long Covid.
“It is clear from those discussions that each experience is very specific to the individual, although the impact more often than not is hugely debilitating.
“A lack of early identification or the opportunity to get tested are common features of the accounts that have been relayed to me. Likewise, most appear to have suffered from joint pains, acute tiredness and bad headaches.
“We need to see more specialist support available in each local health board area, including in the islands. There needs to be recognition too of the impact Long Covid can have on an individual’s ability to work or study, and appropriate support provided.
“Hopefully we will see effective treatments or combinations of treatments emerge over the coming months. At this point, however, it is important to send out a clear message to those in Orkney and elsewhere suffering from Long Covid that they are being heard.”
It is estimated that across the UK 1.2million people are reporting having the symptoms associated with long covid.
Fatigue continued to be the most common symptom reported as part of individuals’ experience of long COVID (55% of those with self-reported long COVID), followed by shortness of breath (39%), loss of smell (33%), and difficulty concentrating (30%).Prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the UK: 4 November 2021
Even more concerning is that long covid is affecting younger people in ever greater numbers.
As a proportion of the UK population, prevalence of self-reported long COVID remained greatest in people aged 35 to 69 years, females, people living in more deprived areas, those working in health or social care, and those with another activity-limiting health condition or disability; compared with the previous month, prevalence of self-reported long COVID was notably higher among people aged 12 to 16 years or 17 to 24 years, with the latter now comparable to people aged 35 to 69 years.
The number of positive cases associated with schools in Orkney is a stark warning that our young people may suffer from the dreadful effects of this virus in the long term.
On 9th November, in his Covid update to the Scottish Parliament, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, warned that more restrictions might have to come back in as we move into the winter period.
John Swinney said:
“Starting from the current high level of infection in the community and the intense pressure that the NHS is already under as a result, some scenarios for what may happen next are very concerning.
“We need to avoid the most dangerous of those scenarios.
“There are also specific reasons to suspect that case numbers may increase in the weeks ahead: with the onset of colder winter weather, increased time spent indoors means that there will be more opportunities for Covid to circulate; COP26 has seen people from all over the world meet in Glasgow, which presents a known infection risk; and many of us will wish to spend time visiting loved ones over the festive period.”
And he added:
“we cannot rule out strengthening the baseline protective measures that are currently in place as the best way to head off any prospect of future lockdowns.”
The measures could include: extending the places where proof of vaccination is required, improving ventilation, increasing home working, and more use of face masks.
Health and social services are under increasing pressure with the rise in Covid numbers and the people who are requiring hospitalisation. Remember those workers are exhausted from having to cope with this virus and as we go into winter and the potential of the flu virus also hitting communities that it is ever more important to do what we can to keep ourselves and others safe.
- get the vaccine when you are offered it
- wear a face covering where required
- wash your hands regularly, and cover your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing
- self isolate and take a PCR test if you have symptoms
- take regular tests if you don’t have symptoms to reduce the risk of spreading the virus
- meet outside if you can, and open windows when indoors
- keep your distance from people not in your group
- work from home, or do a mixture of home and office working if possible
- use the apps: COVID status (vaccine passport), Protect Scotland and Check-in Scotland
Information here about Long Covid: Longer-term effects of COVID-19 (long COVID)