“110,000 workers missing from work as a result” of #LongCovid

Published data from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS), 29th July 2022, shows a slight decrease in the number of Covid infections.

  • England: 1 in 20 people
  • Scotland: 1 in 19 people
  • Wales: 1 in 19 people
  • Northern Ireland: 1 in 16 people

Although this is a decrease, the rate of infection is still high.

The percentage of adults in the UK with Covid antibodies is high, however it is lower for children aged  8 to 11 years (68.1%)

Unfortunately Covid related deaths increased in the UK. There were 694 deaths involving COVID-19 registered in the week ending 15 July 2022 in the UK an increase from 529 in the previous week. This accounted for 5.8% of all deaths in the latest week, an increase from 4.5% in the previous week.

See also: #Covid Related Deaths in Scotland: Weekly Update 28.07.2022

Long Covid

This week the Institute of Fiscal Studies published their report Long COVID and the labour market

Key findings

  1. According to the Office for National Statistics, almost 2 million people, or 3% of the population, had long COVID by the end of May 2022, of whom 72% were limited by the condition and 21% were limited ‘a lot’. These numbers have been rising steadily since the middle of 2021.
  2. The impact of long COVID is felt unequally. Existing work finds that sufferers are more likely to have a pre-existing health condition, be female and be middle aged. We show that they are also more likely to live in social housing, to have been claiming benefits before the pandemic, and possibly to be in poverty.
  3. By examining how outcomes have changed since before the pandemic for long COVID sufferers and similar individuals without the condition, we estimate that one in ten people who develop long COVID stop working, with sufferers generally going on sick leave (rather than losing their jobs altogether). As a result, hours worked on average reduce by about 2½ hours per week and earnings by £65 per month (6%), or £1,100 per person who drops out of work. Our estimates suggest that while the prevalence and severity of COVID remain
    at current levels, the aggregate impact is equivalent to 110,000 workers being off sick.
  4. At the individual level, long COVID shows some persistent labour market effects, with impacts being felt at least three months after infection. Further research would be required to precisely determine the duration of the impact.
graphic from Indie SAGE

Tom Wernham, a Research Economist at IFS and an author of the report, said:

‘Though acute COVID is no longer the severe threat to public health and the economy that it once was, the impact of long COVID has continued to grow over time, with almost 2 million now suffering from the condition.

“Our research suggests that for a significant minority of long COVID sufferers, the condition has severe effects not only on their health but on their ability to do paid work.

“The rising rate of long COVID could therefore put additional strain on families during the cost of living crisis, especially as long COVID is more common among poorer families, as well as drag on a struggling economy – we estimate there are 110,000 workers missing from work as a result.’

Creating Safe Environments

In their weekly briefing, Indie SAGE, stressed the importance of creating safe environments to minimise the transmission of Covid.

Independent SAGE is a group of scientists who are working together to provide independent scientific advice to the UK government and public on how to minimise deaths and support Britain’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis

  • get your vaccine when offered to ensure you are fully protected
  • stay at home if you’re unwell with symptoms or have a fever
  • open windows when socialising indoors
  • wear a face covering in indoor public places and on public transport
  • wash your hands to protect yourself

Care for yourself and others to help slow down the spread of the virus and reduce pressure on our health services.

See also: 35 New #Covid Cases in Orkney: Weekly Update

Fiona Grahame

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6 replies »

  1. Last week’s IndieSage briefing was really an important one. What has been said about the long term impacts of high infection levels on the economy and the public, about masks and about environmental mitigation methods… should be a mandatory task for our politicians to watch. It could be beneficial for some health care professionals too.

    One cannot emphasise enough the engineering (and the simple “physics”) side of environmental mitigation methods.
    Only this morning I was told by a local GP that they would “ventilate” the room prior to an appointment to make sure the air was safe.
    Well, opening one window just a tiny bit the very moment the patient arrives, is not “ventilation”. In fact, in cramped old small surgeries with narrow corridors and treatment rooms resembling nooks and crannies of a Hobbit dwelling, this kind of “ventilation” does not support air exchange; under certain circumstances it could even make matters worse if one takes directional air flow etc. into account.

    Similarly, given that at least some of the (relatively high and continuously increasing) hospital acquired Covid infections (https://publichealthscotland.scot/publications/hospital-onset-covid-19-cases-in-scotland/hospital-onset-covid-19-cases-in-scotland-week-ending-01-march-2020-to-week-ending-3-july-2022/) might be due to incorrect and/or insufficient ventilation, it could be a safe assumption that there are also high numbers of infections acquired in other healthcare settings such as GP practices since knowledge about simple basic physics in infection prevention and control are apparently not part of a GP’s curriculum.

    • A friend and fellow not-well-person e-mailed to say she hopes I’m OK. I answered…..

      “Last week was bad and I’m considering going to see a doctor – but – the hospital where the surgery is has a problem with Covid – two wards closed recently. A dilemma. I’ll wait and see.
      Mike is in a similar situation with an erupting wisdom tooth – he’s swishing his mouth with Corsodyl and…hoping it works itself out.

      Today’s world – all the expertise and tech is there, but Covid gets in the way of us availing ourselves of it!”

      For what ails me a telephone consultation would be next to useless – on the ‘phone I get tired and lose track of what’s going on – and I’m always aware that they don’t have much time to listen.

      We’re stepping back in time – essentially to before there was a NHS and you either got better, learnt to live with what was wrong, or…died.

      • The dilemma you are experiencing does sound so familiar.
        The thing is… you have to balance risks. The risk of a Covid infection against the risk of another serious health issue, whether it is a new one or a deterioration of an existing one.

        If you have no choice and cannot safely wait until ‘it works itself out’ (especially dental issues can be tricky or even dangerous if left untreated), then there are things you can do to reduce Covid risks:

        INSIST, that the treatment room is properly and thoroughly ventilated, before you enter. Ideally, opt for an appointment early in the morning or after the lunch break when there is a higher chance of ventilation having taken place during a fallow time.

        INSIST, that staff wear FFP3 masks during your treatment.
        There should not be any healthcare settings where these are not available because the NHS must provide them for their staff, not only for aerosol generating procedures but also (and this is relatively new and may not have been communicated to all health and care staff) because staff can request them ‘based on a staff member’s personal preference’ (https://www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/dl/DL(2022)10.pdf). It would be very questionable if a vulnerable patient’s preference would not be considered as equally valid. In fact, ignoring or dismissing such a patient’s request could – in my view (and certainly also from a legal perspective) – be an act of discrimination.

        Obviously, only take your own FFP3 mask off if this is necessary for a specific medical procedure, but keep this time as short as possible.

        Being wary… is good… because it makes us cautious and considerate. Being scared and delaying urgent treatments could be counterproductive and backfire.

  2. Thank you for taking the time and having the interest to respond to my comment.

    Believe me, I/we have weighed it up. At the same time being wary of spending too much time going over it as that isn’t good for my state of mind either.

    Long story short – I’ve decided to change how I spend my time – aiming to be more careful about getting over-tired as that sets off other things. That could work – if not – I plan to write to the doctor as I believe folk take thing in better through reading than through listening – and pay more attention. Then I’d planned to do what you have suggested – asking for a morning appointment if possible – making sure I’m comfortable about the situation, and, if not – go home!

    I’m very much hoping I can work it out by changing my approach. I write a blog http://www.spanglefish.com/berniesblog/blog.asp in which I recently wrote the following…

    “On Being Not Right in the Heid…..
    I freely admit to not being right in the heid. I’ve not been right in the heid for as long as I can remember and have lived with that way of being – more or less – up and down – over the years.
    Recently I was wondering if I’m getting nearer to losing my grip. Since March 2020 I haven’t mixed with people. Just Mike at home, our neighbours, and a few careful visitors. Mike and I go out for walks, as written of in The Orkney News……. https://theorkneynews.scot/?s=Bernie+Bell+Walks
    I have Mike to talk with – thank goodness – a person of intelligence, insight and humour, right here, with me, in the house. Without that person to have exchanges with I would definitely have gone well and truly nuts.
    Still, it’s not natural for me not to be among people, jibber-jabbering, and I feel that the lack of real human contact – as well as what’s happening in and to the world around me – is beginning to tell on my state of mind.
    I asked Mike seriously, genuinely, does he think I’m going nuts, and he said ….”Look around you at the world today – look at how people are behaving – that’s nuts – you’re not.” And I thought yes indeed – I don’t scurry around clutching a Smart-phone like it’s some kind of life-line – constantly checking it in case I’m ‘missing something.’ I don’t go to crowded indoor events as though Covid doesn‘t still stalk the land. All in all a lot of the behaviour of people in general is a lot more nuts than I am.
    So now, having decided that I’m not too wrong in the heid, I think I need to develop a less fret-full approach to my physical deterioration. I fret about how it limits my life. I fret about how it limits our life, and Mike’s life – which does no good at all – makes the situation and our lives no better and, in fact, makes it worse.
    Less fretting about my physical deterioration might help with the emotional trials of relative social isolation. Adopting a genuinely more accepting approach – each day as it comes. Each part of a day as it comes. Steadily – living.
    I have a cartoon by Gary Larsen stuck on the wall next to where I sleep which is a picture of a person sitting on the side of a bed first thing in the morning, looking at a sign on their wall which says….’First pants THEN your shoes.’
    That strikes me as a good approach to have. Nice & Steady.”

    My present dilemma about seeing a doctor is due to a physical rather than an emotional disorder – but I’m aware that being over-tired brings on the physical problem – so – I’ll try to take things more steady.
    Once again – thank you for your advice, and don’t worry – we’re not silly people – we won’t let either problem go too far.

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