"Hitting the wall"

By Melody Hansen, Lex Kleren Switch to German for original article

One of the known consequences of the coronavirus so far is exhaustion, which can last for months after the infection. What it feels like.

More and more people complain of exhaustion that lasts for months after a coronavirus infection. A doctor observes the complaints especially in her younger patients, whose course of the disease was mild. A young couple from Esch tells us how fatigue has dominated their daily lives since September and why they are nevertheless confident that things will soon pick up again.

Since Carole Betz and her husband Tom Weber contracted Covid-19 in September, they have been incredibly exhausted. “It’s not a fatigue that’s gone after eight hours of sleep. When I wake up, I’m just as drained as before I went to bed, ” says Tom Weber. The 36-year-old has known this feeling for some time. Since he suffered a severe head trauma in 2017 after a fall on his head and was in an artificial coma for five days, he has been living with the so-called chronic fatigue syndrome. The symptoms had slowly improved over the past year – until he contracted the virus. “It suddenly got worse again. The complaints are exactly the same.”

Dr Serge Meyer, internist, oncologist and head of the crisis cell at the Centre Hospitalier Emile Mayrisch (CHEM) since March, observes fatigue symptoms in about a third of his Corona patients. “In itself, fatigue after an infection is nothing new. It often occurs after a viral infection. Most people know it from mononucleosis, the so-called kissing disease. But we also observe it in HIV or hepatitis C patients, ” says Meyer, who, in addition to treating people with cancer, also has years of experience in treating HIV patients.

Causes unknown

So far, this fatigue can hardly be explained biologically. It is also unclear what kind of people have to struggle with it following an infection. “Some have nothing at all. Others lie flat for weeks or months. It’s hard to measure.” Researchers in Luxembourg have also not yet been able to figure out what causes this fatigue. “We know very little about the long-term effects associated with Covid-19. Fatigue is certainly part of it, but we can’t explain it yet, ” Dr Guy Fagherazzi, head of the ‘Predi-Covid’ study group at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), tells the Lëtzebuerger Journal. With the ‘Predi-Covid’ study, LIH wants to find out, among other things, what long-term consequences can occur in patients with mild or no symptoms. “We haven’t come to any results yet. The study is still in its early stages, ” says Fagherazzi, referring to a conversation at a later date.

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