Here we go again. It’s the middle of summer and the leading opinion piece in the Guardian today calls for the return of restrictions in response to rising infections and hospitalisations. In a piece introduced by saying, “a few small changes would make a big difference to millions of vulnerable people”, journalist Frances Ryan writes:
If you’re reading this in the U.K., odds are that by now you’ve had coronavirus: seven in 10 of us have watched the dreaded red line appear. You may have been stuck in bed with it twice or even three times by now; by April 2022, England alone had recorded almost 900,000 reinfections. When the public asked to “return to normal”, I’m not sure a regular hacking cough was what they had in mind.
Almost 900,000 reinfections? How will 1.6% of the population have coped with getting another cold?
It is an odd situation. Last week, Covid infections were reported to have soared by 43%, while hospitalisation from the virus rose by 23%. An estimated 1.7 million people in the U.K. tested positive over those seven days. Two million of us now have long Covid, with about two in five of those – or 826,000 people – having symptoms for at least a year.
What Ryan fails to mention is that Long Covid studies frequently find small to negligible numbers of additional symptoms compared to a control group, meaning the quoted figure is unlikely to be an accurate picture of the real impact of COVID-19.