Blind Dave highlights dangers of ‘Long COVID’

A well-known Sandwell resident has spoken out about the severe impact of ‘Long COVID’ on his life. West Bromwich’s Blind Dave, a man known for taking on the physical challenges presented by marathons, has been experiencing the effects of Long COVID, since first coming down with the virus just before Christmas 2020.

For some people, coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone.

This is sometimes called post-COVID-19 syndrome or Long COVID. In 2008 Blind Dave ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents and since then has competed in numerous marathons and even learned to swim to take part in one of the world’s toughest triathlons – Escape from Alcatraz. Blind Dave spoke of his experience of Long COVID.

He said: “It really clobbered me. It was like someone had ripped my batteries out.” Three weeks after being diagnosed with COVID, Dave found he was still not fit. He added: “I was struggling just to walk, and had to sit down two or three times when I first went out for fresh air.”

The symptoms of Long COVID are wide-ranging but can include extreme tiredness (fatigue), shortness of breath, chest pain, joint pain, depression and anxiety. Recent research has also highlighted hair loss as a symptom of Long COVID.

According to the Office for National Statistics: data collected from [the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey] between 7 April and 13 June found that 6.2% of the adult population (aged 16 years and over) in Great Britain may have experienced Long COVID at some point in the pandemic.

And an estimated 106,000 under-25s are thought to be living with Long COVID in the UK; of these young people, 72,000 are 17-24 and 34,000 are under 16. Dave is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.

He said: “I urge everyone in Sandwell – however fit or however old you are – to follow the government guidelines to stay safe, get vaccinated and protect themselves and others from the effects of the virus.” Dr Lisa McNally, Director of Public Health for Sandwell Council, said: “Long COVID is causing real concern.

As the experience of Blind Dave shows, even very fit and healthy people can be affected, and the consequences are severe. “It’s also worrying to see so many young people having their lives impacted by Long COVID. “The chances of having long-term symptoms do not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19.

People who had mild symptoms at first can still have long-term problems. “The best way to avoid COVID illness is to get vaccinated and continue to avoid infection.

“You can book a vaccination appointment through your GP, your local NHS service or online at “Social distancing is still one of the best ways to avoid infection. We should now be in the habit of keeping a good distance between ourselves and other people, especially in indoor areas. “Face coverings, hand washing and good ventilation also reduce the risk of infection.”

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