Long COVID - WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR

What we know so far

Dr Charles Shepherd, Honorary Medical Advisory of the M.E Association explains in this paper much of what is known so far about Long COVID.

There are various categories of the condition being labelled 'Long Covid':

  • some patients have ongoing symptoms of COVID-19, such as loss of taste and smell, respiratory, cardiac and other symptoms, such as palpitations ('fast' and noticeable heart beat) and intermittent fever;
  • other patients have symptoms similar to M.E of which fatigue, pain and cognitive (brain fag, loss of memory and concentration) are major symptoms;
  • some patients have a combination of symptoms of COVID -19 and similar to M.E

There are groupings of Long COVID patients:

  • those who have been in intensive care and are suffering loss of muscle mass, respiratory, cardiac and cognitive issues and complications from catheters and tubes. A UK rehabilitation centre is being set up for them (The Seacole Centre in Surrey)
  • those who self-managed COVID-19 at home - their symtoms are lung burn, breathlessness, a dry cough, palpitations, fever and loss of taste and smell. Some have debilitating fatigue, but not always. Their condition fluctuates and is often exacerbated by exertion
  • those who self-managed COVID-19 at home but whose early symptoms are more like those of M.E, possibly with some breathlessness and cardiac symptoms.
  • those who have already had Long COVID for some months who could be diagnosed as having M.E, in due course
  • those who have M.E and then had COVID-19. Surprisingly, this has resulted in few cases being admitted to hospital (or further data is yet required); an exacerbation of M.E symptoms is being reported. People with M.E are likely to be self-isolating, to a great extent.

There is a gender bias in Long COVID towards women - but it is not as great as in M.E.

I would strongly advise that Long COVID patients read the whole of the paper by Dr Charles Shepherd, to fully understand the management advice. Print it off or take notes? The helpful management advice is reflected, in layman's language, on this website.

Paul Garner, an infection disease control expert, with Long COVID, has been writing blogs for the British Medical Journal here:

Also see: