The good news: Cases of long COVID dropped from 7.5 percent to 6.0 percent between June 2022 and June 2023. Among people who reported a history of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, long COVID prevalence fell from 18.9 percent in 2022 to 11 percent in 2023.

The bad news: Debilitating symptoms of long COVID in eight categories were seen to emerge many months after the infection, even after a previous resolution of symptoms. The eight categories include extreme fatigue, cognitive difficulties, cardiovascular, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, constitutional, or head, eyes, and ears, nose, and throat problems.T

these findings come from the multi-center INSPIRE study sponsored by the CDC and published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Confirming what is well known among fibromyalgia experts, the research shows that similar debilitating symptoms are also common following viral infections other than COVID. Of greatest practical concern is that 1 in 4 in the self-reported study experienced significant limitations to their daily activities and the ability to maintain employment and a livelihood. 

The implications: 

Serious, long-term debilitation is often found among patients suffering from the after-effects of viral infections like COVID, H1N1, SARS, and MERS,” says board certified internist Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, who specializes in treating patients with post-viral chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and its painful cousin fibromyalgia (FMS).

“A viral infection may trigger a ‘911’ response in the hypothalamus in the brain, which acts as a protective circuit breaker that shuts down normal metabolic functions when the system is under duress.”

According to Dr. Teitelbaum, post-viral chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex, disabling medical condition, but effective treatment is available using the comprehensive SHINE protocol, which restores proper functioning to the hypothalamus and the affected endocrine system (Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 8:2,2001).

Other research published in The Lancet has shown that starting the safe and low-cost medication Metformin in the first five days of a COVID infection decreases the probability of long COVID by 63 percent.Dr. Teitelbaum credits the coronavirus for fueling the so-called “Great Resignation,” which created approximately 107 million COVID cases, 16 million cases of long COVID or post-viral CFS, and potentially, 15 to 25 percent with long COVID who were unable to work—possibly indefinitely. Before the COVID epidemic, the U.S. had 3-6 million cases of CFS/FMS, about half of which were post viral. 

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