Patients collectively made Long Covid – and cognate term ‘long-haul Covid’ – in the first months of the pandemic. Patients, many with initially ‘mild’ illness, used various kinds of evidence and advocacy to demonstrate a longer, more complex course of illness than laid out in initial reports from Wuhan.
Long Covid has a strong claim to be the first illness created through patients finding one another on social media: it moved from patients, through various media, to formal clinical and policy channels in just a few months. This initial mapping of Long Covid – by two patients with this illness – focuses on actors in the UK and USA and demonstrates how patients marshalled epistemic authority. Patient knowledge needs to be incorporated into how COVID-19 is conceptualised, researched, and treated.