Long-term effects of COVID-19

The Health Secretary has warned of the long-term effects of COVID-19 in a new film. New data suggests that ‘long COVID’ affects around 10% of 18 to 49 year olds who become unwell with COVID-19.

The film features the stories of 4 people, one aged just 22, who are living with the long-term effects of the virus. The emotive film features the stories of Jade, 22, Jade, 32, Tom, 32 and John, 48, who explain how their lives have been affected – weeks and months after being diagnosed with COVID-19. They discuss symptoms such as breathlessness when walking up the stairs, intermittent fevers, and chest 6 pain. The film aims to raise awareness of the long-term impact of COVID-19 as we learn more about the virus.

A new study today from King’s College London, using data from the COVID Symptom Study App and ZOE, shows one in 20 people with COVID-19 are likely to have symptoms for 8 weeks or more. The study suggests long COVID affects around 10% of 18 to 49-year olds who become unwell with COVID-19.

The symptoms of ‘long COVID’, including fatigue, protracted loss of taste or smell, respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms, and mental health problems.

COVID-19 on ethnic minorities

In response to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities, the Clinical Commissioning Group are working with Diversity Resource International to host a series of webinars. Details on these events are shown on the poster below. We encourage local people to join, share experiences, ask questions, and suggest solutions for change.

Email training@dricic.org to take part Separately, researchers are calling on more people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and the over 65s to volunteer for clinical studies through the NHS Vaccine Registry.

New reports from local community organisations

Three new reports have been prepared by three Sussex community-based organisations to help “Turn information into action” and provide a more independent view on what people are really saying and doing about COVID-19.

These organisations, Trust for Developing Communities and Partners (Brighton and Hove), Citizens Advice Bureau (Crawley) and Hastings Voluntary Action (Hastings), have presented their findings and recommendations and are being reviewed by the Sussex Health and Care Partnership (SHCP) Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Disparity Programme and will result in a list of short- and long-term actions to form part of the legacy of the programme.

You can read more information here.

Flu advice for pregnant people and those with long-term health conditions

The local NHS is urging pregnant people to get their free flu jab now, as during pregnancy there is a higher chance of developing complications from flu and can include bronchitis, a chest infection that can become serious and develop into pneumonia.

The Influenza Virus can also impact on unborn babies being born prematurely, with a low birthweight, and even lead to stillbirth or death.

Studies have proven it is safe to have the flu vaccine during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to the expected due date.

Flu advice for those with long-term health conditions

The NHS in Sussex is urging people with longterm health conditions to book their free flu jab now, as it is “vital” to help them avoid potentially serious illness and even dying from flu.

Flu can be serious for anyone with a long-term health condition as they are more likely to develop complications, which could result in their hospitalisation and even death.

Last year, more than half of those with long term health conditions in Sussex did not claim their free flu jab, leaving them vulnerable to catching the flu and getting very ill. The flu vaccine is the very best protection.

All children who have long-term health conditions should be offered flu vaccination from the age of six months.

Flu is a particular threat to people with long-term conditions that include:

• respiratory conditions, such as asthma (needing steroid inhaler or tablets), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and bronchitis

• diabetes

• heart conditions, such as coronary heart disease or heart failure

• being very overweight – a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above

• chronic kidney disease

• liver disease, such as hepatitis

• neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy

• people with a learning disability

• problems with your spleen, for example, sickle cell disease, or if you have had your spleen removed

• a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or taking medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy

New and free service – saving lives by supporting early cancer diagnosis in the city

The Speak Up Against Cancer Team at Albion in the Community is delighted to launch their brand new Speak Up Against Cancer Online Cancer Awareness Support Offer.

Finding and treating cancer at an early stage can save lives. For this reason, even during the current pandemic, it is vital that everyone seeks advice for unusual changes in our bodies and health and attend screening programmes when invited.

Speak Up Against Cancer raises awareness of cancer signs and symptoms and screening programmes, across the city. The service gives people the confidence and tools they need to attend screening appointments, recognise the signs and symptoms of cancer, and to overcome barriers to getting help when it is needed.

Delivered in a positive, informal, engaging way, their approachable and friendly project team will also offer one to one post-session follow up support (as appropriate) to any participants who may have concerns or further questions. Volunteers will also share their personal experience of early detection of cancer, inspiring others to take notice of changes in their bodies and seek support.

The service is offering the following options:

• Online Speak Up Tailored Group Presentations; delivered to groups of any size, will last up to an hour, and tailored to the needs of your group.

• Online Speak Up Short Talks; dropping into existing group online activities that you are offering, to deliver a short talk on cancer awareness.

• Community Organisation Staff and Volunteer Training; we can deliver cancer awareness short talks or longer presentations to your staff and volunteer teams to raise awareness of screening programmes and cancer signs and symptoms to inform work with service users.

Sessions can be hosted by us via ZOOM or delivered on the platform of your choice if you are hosting.

Funded by Brighton and Hove City Council Public Health and Brighton and Hove CCG, the programme is available at no cost to participants or host organisations.