In Dublin, Ireland, a doctor and his team investigated a symptom that seems to persist in many convalescents following a coronavirus infection.
Fatigue studied closely
To date, 'the medium and long-term consequences of the infection remain unexplored,' says Dr Liam Townsend, based at St James' Hospital in Dublin. Nevertheless, he and his colleagues took a close look at the issue by interviewing a panel of 128 participants, aged around 50 years.
These patients all had Covid-19, and are currently recovering. Note that of the 128 people, 71 had been hospitalised and 57 had had a ‘non-acute’ form of the disease. The results highlighted two key elements:
- A majority of patients experienced persistent fatigue during the convalescence period.
- Women represented 54% of the participants, and among them, two-thirds suffered from persistent fatigue (67%).
Finally, also note that people with a history of anxiety or depression were more likely to experience fatigue.
The expert explained: 'Our results demonstrate a significant burden of post-viral fatigue after the acute phase of the disease in people who have had a SARS-CoV-2 infection.'
Another report released by the World Health Organisation reviewed 55,924 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China and found that fatigue was the 3rd most common symptom with 38.1% of patients falling subject to the constantly tired feeling. However, it is wise to note that fatigue is not a symptom of coronavirus in itself and is often accompanied by other indicators such as muscle pains, a dry cough and even the loss of taste and smell.
What is Long Covid?
Dr Michael Head of the University of Southampton evoked the expression ‘Long Covid':
We are seeing more and more evidence of 'Long Covid,’ and fatigue is one of the most frequently reported side effects.
Long covid is known to be a combination of long term symptoms such as fatigue, that can linger long after you've tested positive for the virus. A separate study conducted by the British Journal of General Practice even involved one 34-year-old woman who had to sit down for 10-15 minutes between completing chores:
I have to do a chore, sit down for 15, 20 minutes and then do the next, which frustrates me. It's like peeling potatoes, I can't peel the carrots straight afterwards.
Dr Head continued to reveal that reducing community transmission is the key to reducing cases of 'Long Covid':
The emerging scale of 'Long Covid' is the reason why it is important to reduce community transmission, even among younger groups of people who are not immediately seriously ill.