By David Tuller, DrPH
The relationship between what is being called long-Covid and ME/CFS (and its variants) is complex. The conditions overlap in ways that are poorly understood, and the mechanisms through which they produce such significant disabilities remain elusive. As the coronavirus pandemic enters its second year, many tens or hundreds of thousands of people around the world are suffering from long-term medical symptoms after an acute bout of Covid-19. It remains to be seen how long their complaints will persist.
From the start, It was clear to everyone in the ME/CFS community—patients, advocates, clinicians, investigators–that some proportion of Covid-19 patients would likely experience a subsequent period of prolonged illness. It was also clear that this secondary wave of post-viral complications would have serious but unknown implications for ME/CFS. (I wrote about this possibility here, here and here.) Many hoped, as I did, that the long-covid phenomenon would bring much-needed attention to ME/CFS itself, as well as greater awareness of the pervasive neglect and dismissiveness to which these patients had been subjected for decades.
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