Background: Long-term sequelae of COVID-19 (long COVID) include muscle weakness, fatigue, breathing difficulties and sleep disturbance over weeks or months. Using UK longitudinal data, we assessed the relationship between long COVID and financial disruption. Methods: We estimated associations between long COVID (derived using self-reported length of COVID-19 symptoms) and measures of financial disruption (subjective financial well-being, new benefit claims, changes in household income) by analysing data from four longitudinal population studies, gathered during the first year of the pandemic. We employed modified Poisson regression in a pooled analysis of the four cohorts adjusting for a range of potential confounders, including pre-pandemic (pre-long COVID) factors. Results: Among the 20 112 observations across four population surveys, 13% reported having COVID-19 with symptoms that impeded their ability to function normally—10.7% had such symptoms for <4 weeks (acute COVID-19), 1.2% had such symptoms for 4–12 weeks (ongoing symptomatic COVID-19) and 0.6% had such symptoms for >12 weeks (post-COVID-19 syndrome). We found that post-COVID-19 syndrome was associated with worse subjective financial well-being (adjusted relative risk ratios (aRRRs)=1.57, 95% CI=1.25, 1.96) and new benefit claims (aRRR=1.79, CI=1.27, 2.53). Associations were broadly similar across sexes and education levels. These results were not meaningfully altered when scaled to represent the population by age. Conclusions: Long COVID was associated with financial disruption in the UK. If our findings reflect causal effects, extending employment protection and financial support to people with long COVID may be warranted.


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Rhead, R., Wels, J., Moltrecht, B., Shaw, R., Silverwood, R., Zhu, J., Hughes, A., Chaturvedi, N., Demou, E., Katikireddi, S. & Ploubidis, G. 2024, 'Long COVID and financial outcomes: evidence from four longitudinal population surveys', Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2023-221059

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Last updated: 27 April 2024
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