Some survivors of acute bouts of Covid-19 experience a range of persistent medical issues — some lasting for weeks, or even months — that include profound exhaustion, trouble thinking or remembering, muscle pain, headaches, and more. One survivor described it as feeling like she was “hit by a truck.”
Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert, acknowledged this month that the symptoms in many of these unrecovered patients are “highly suggestive” of myalgic encephalomyelitis, the disabling illness also commonly called chronic fatigue syndrome or ME/CFS. “This is something we really need to seriously look at,” said Fauci.
Fauci’s observation, echoed by others, is vitally important, and not only because it provides a warning about the pandemic’s potentially devastating long-term health effects. By noting the possible connection between “post-Covid syndrome” and ME/CFS, Fauci has highlighted the long-neglected field of post-viral illness — a poorly understood phenomenon that likely holds important clues about the causes of, and treatments for, both conditions.
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