“Long Covid” was first used by Elisa Perego as a Twitter hashtag in May to describe her own experience of a multiphasic, cyclical condition that differed in time course and symptomatology from the bi-phasic pathway discussed in early scientific papers, which focused on hospitalised patients. Just three months later, following intense advocacy by patients across the world, this patient made term has been taken up by powerful actors, including the World Health Organization. Politicians have used it too: Matt Hancock, UK health secretary, explained to a parliamentary committee that “the impact of long covid can be really debilitating for a long period of time.”
“Long Covid” has clearly struck a chord. However, it’s not the only term being used to describe persistent symptoms: we’ve also seen post-acute COVID-19, postcovid syndrome, and chronic COVID-19. In this BMJ Opinion article, Elizabeth Perego and colleagues explains why, as patients and professionals, they see “Long Covid” as better able to navigate the socio-political, as well as clinical and public health challenges, posed by the pandemic in the coming month.