D.he death was never an issue for her, at least not death from Covid-19. These cases are officially carefully recorded: there are almost 78,000 in Germany so far, and almost three million worldwide have lost their lives after being infected with the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen. Survivors with persistent complaints, however, such as the 42 women and men who turned to the Fatigue Center of the Charité in Berlin between July and November last year after devastating months of doubt, exhausting agony and thousands of questions, are not officially counted. Not nationally and not worldwide. They are survivors, registered in the group of now more than 2.5 million “recovered”, and they are therefore rarely an issue when there is an argument about lockdown or loosening. Still not, strangely enough, because the number of corona victims with “Longcovid” is increasing every day.
Editor in the features section, responsible for the “Nature and Science” section.
The burden of disease increases like that of those who mourn. Ten percent of those infected, that is the estimate that is heard most often, still suffer months later from the “post-viral syndrome”, which the American Covid consultant and immunologist commented on Anthony Fauci recently stated that it was very real, and “It is unbelievable how many of those infected suffer from this post-viral syndrome, which is astonishingly similar to Myalgic Encephalitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”
“Multisymptom” ailments even in children
ME / CFS is in itself a great, long story of suffering – a story of suffering for those affected and for medicine, including the bureaucracy. The slash designation already indicates how bitterly there was a dispute about the recognition of this disease. For a long time it was often simply exhaustion or, in the worst case, refusal to work for the red tape, the doctors now at least record it as a neurological condition. According to health insurance, there are around 300,000 ME / CFS patients in the country. Neurological or psychological, “real” or “imagined”, the argument about it lasted for decades, not only in this country. It is by no means finished. And certainly not with this pandemic. If the observations made during the first year of the epidemic are not misleading, millions of people around the world could also contract it – and the conflicts over protracted therapies and treatment costs put an enormous strain on health systems.
The medical immunologist Carmen Scheibenbogen and her colleagues have been dealing with “post-corona fatigue”, as the ailment in Berlin’s Charité, for months. Anyone who feels this incredibly paralyzing lack of energy at least six months after a Sars-CoV-2 infection and can hardly cope with the accompanying constant pain is a case for the Fatigue Center. A few weeks ago, the clinical troop for disc arches published an article that has not yet been scientifically assessed in a preprint on “medRxiv”, which confirmed the assumption that experienced clinicians had been cherishing for months: Almost half of 42 proven Covid-19 patients were fulfilled after admission all ME / CFS criteria and experienced the mental and metabolic crash that is typical of the exhaustion syndrome after infection.
The coronavirus turned them into living wrecks. The youngest person diagnosed was twenty-four years old and in good physical condition before the infection, but it can also affect people over 60. And above all: the suffering affects even without a serious illness. On the contrary, many only had mild Covid symptoms. Weeks after the corona respiratory symptoms had subsided, however, the ME / CFS symptoms weakened body and mind: Almost all of them suffered from never-ending sleepiness, memory problems tormented them more and more often, more than ninety percent suffered from sometimes severe, recurring headaches and muscle aches – everyday life became more and more unbearable instead of better after an infection.
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