A Doctor With Long-Covid Finds Out The Downside Of Graded Exercise Therapy



By Jerome Burne for the Daily Mail.


As they’re told to exercise despite crippling fatigue, and advised they should banish ‘negative thoughts’…No wonder doctors think their long Covid treatment is misguided.

Professor Brendan Delaney developed a mild case of Covid just before the first lockdown in March, suffering the now- familiar symptoms of a cough, temperature and headache.

Feeling tired and achy, the 57-year-old London GP self-isolated for two weeks, by which time he had recovered enough to return to work.

But a week later, he suddenly experienced the ‘most extreme fatigue’.

‘I was breathless and had muscle pains and a recurring fever,’ he says.

Professor Delaney, a specialist in medical informatics at Imperial College London, used to cycle 80 miles every Sunday, but after he developed long Covid — which is thought to have affected 60,000 people in the UK — even speaking to patients on the phone was a challenge. Sometimes he would feel better, but then he’d relapse.

Three months later, in June, when he’d been able to start working again (though only part-time), he still had brain fog.

The official treatment for lasting fatigue, which is now recommended to long Covid patients, is graded exercise therapy (GET). It involves doing a bit more exercise every day, with NHS website Your Covid Recovery suggesting: ‘It is important that you start being active as soon as possible after discharge from hospital . . . You should aim to build up to 30 minutes of activity at least five days a week.’

For people exhausted by a simple phone call, this seems like a huge task.


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Link to Covid-19 and GET story

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