230,000 people with long COVID in Ireland – Naughten

In Health, News by Denis Naughten

Based on a survey by Ireland Thinks, there are 230,559 people in Ireland suffering with conditions associated with long COVID and 36,889 of these people are impacted a lot in their daily activities by these symptoms, says Denis Naughten TD

These figures are taken from the self-declared incidence of long COVID in Ireland, based on a survey carried out by leading polling company, Ireland Thinks, that was commissioned by Independent TD Denis Naughten.


Based on the same survey there are a further 115,000 people who are experiencing long COVID symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness and brain fog for less than three months, which is likely to add to demands on our health service for access to care.

“The reality is that such a large number of long COVID patients presenting to our hospitals with complex health conditions at a time when the system is already overwhelmed, could lead to the collapse of health service,” stated Denis Naughten.

“We cannot just sleepwalk into a crisis of chronic illness, which will push people waiting on treatments since before the pandemic even further down already horrendous waiting lists. We need to see this surge of long COVID patients managed with a co-ordinated response from Government.”

This is the first exploratory survey of its kind to be conducted in Ireland, and offers a stark perspective on the community prevalence of long COVID, which does not currently have a defined treatment pathway.


Deputy Naughten recently called for long COVID to be recognised as an occupational hazard for frontline workers and urged the Government to treat patients presenting with ongoing symptoms with the same urgency as the initial wave of infections.


The polling data shows that:


  • 6% of adults in Ireland have self-reported symptoms of long COVID in excess of 12 weeks, with a further 3% of adults self-reporting the onset of symptoms for less than 12 weeks.


  • Long COVID symptoms impact a lot on daily activities of 16% of people with long COVID with a further 63% stating that the symptoms are having some impact on their daily lives.

These survey results correlate with previous figures presented by Deputy Naughten based on research published over the summer in The Lancet by a team of researchers in the Netherlands who have attributed long COVID symptoms to 12.7% of patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and research on blood donors published last month by Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre which indicates that 69% of adults in Ireland have been infected by the virus.

Commenting on the survey results, Denis Naughten said: “The findings released from the first comprehensive survey on the prevalence of long COVID in Ireland, show the need to urgently address the care requirements of those who are suffering with this illness. While the mechanism behind the disease has yet to be fully defined, given the proportion of the population in Ireland living with long COVID, it is imperative that evidence-based treatment pathways be explored as a priority.


“It is also interesting to point out that The Lancet paper published last summer described long COVID as ‘the next public health disaster in the making’, which clearly indicates that Government must now treat this illness and the patients with it as a matter of the utmost priority,” concluded Denis Naughten.




Editors notes:

Poll data 


The 6% proportion of adult population is based on extrapolated 2022 Census estimated adult population of 3,842,652 according to the Oireachtas Library & Research Service.


County breakdown of the numbers (extrapolation based on national poll numbers and PCR positive cases in each County – see methodology here:Long COVID incidence by County based on national opinion poll



County No. with long COVID No. significantly impacted in daily life
Dublin 68972 11035
Cork 23471 3755
Galway 12502 2000
Kildare 11507 1841
Limerick 9811 1570
Meath 9642 1543
Donegal 8287 1326
Louth 7356 1177
Tipperary 7203 1152
Wexford 6231 997
Kerry 6219 995
Wicklow 5918 947
Clare 5734 917
Waterford 5669 907
Mayo 5639 902
Westmeath 4861 778
Kilkenny 4335 694
Laois 4036 646
Cavan 3639 582
Offaly 3625 580
Carlow 3255 521
Monaghan 3196 511
Roscommon 3074 492
Sligo 2881 461
Longford 2073 332
Leitrim 1421 227

National Total

230559 36889




About the polling data:


The poll was conducted by Ireland Thinks between Friday 4th and Saturday 5th November, with a sample size of 1,328. Ireland Thinks has a panel of 30,000 respondents – its algorithm chooses 5,000 specific individuals to take part in each poll. These individuals are selected based on their demographics and behaviours (age, gender, religious adherence, educational attainment, past voting behaviour) to ensure that they are an exact replica of the census, and within that, the general population. Polling is conducted via an SMS message that is sent directly to participants.


Respondents were asked whether they had experienced symptoms associated with long COVID following an initial period of infection with COVID-19. Those who reported symptoms were then requested to provide a timeline for onset of those symptoms, to describe any changes to their ability to perform daily activities as a result, and to list symptoms they had experienced.


For more, visit: https://www.irelandthinks.ie/