New modelling of the likely scale and severity of Long COVID in Australia has just been released by researchers from the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research and Deakin University’s Institute for Health Transformation.
The researchers used three different models to estimate how many Australians might be expected to have Long COVID symptoms at the beginning of December 2022, given how many COVID infections have been reported to date. The report provides estimates for the country as a whole and for each state and territory.
The models suggest that a minimum of 160,000 Australians will be experiencing Long COVID in early December, over 35,000 of whom will find their daily lives significantly impacted by illness. It is, however, very likely that over 500,000 people will have Long COVID symptoms, and that more than 110,000 of them will suffer significant impacts from their symptoms.
Lead author on the report, Professor Martin Hensher, said it was time for the Australian Government to listen to health professionals and act on the recommendations given.
“It is likely that several tens of thousands of Australian adults will be unable to work in December due to Long COVID. This will not only have a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of our country, but many flow on effects to the economy.”
“Australia is an outlier amongst similar countries in not having instituted large-scale national surveys and surveillance of Long COVID. As a result, Australia lacks strong data on which to base its Long COVID policy response; this information deficit risks becoming an increasingly significant policy failure.”
The report makes a range of policy recommendations on surveillance and data, healthcare needs, employment and social protection policies, prevention and control, and research.