CDC Discusses Similarities Between Long COVID and CFS

Published: August 15, 2022


As featured on the CDC’s website, parallels between the post-viral syndrome long COVID and chronic fatigue syndrome are undeniably close. Both conditions share many of the same symptoms: 

  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Disordered sleep and insomnia
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating ('brain fog')
  • Joint or muscle pain 

"The symptoms are similar to those reported by people with ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome) and other poorly understood chronic illnesses that may occur after other infections. People with these unexplained symptoms may be misunderstood by their healthcare providers, which can result in a long time for them to get a diagnosis and receive appropriate care or treatment," says the CDC report. And, like CFS, "some people with post-COVID conditions have symptoms that are not explained by tests."

Estimates of the proportion of people who had COVID-19 that go on to experience post-COVID conditions can vary:

  • 13.3% at one month or longer after infection
  • 2.5% at three months or longer, based on self-reporting
  • More than 30% at 6 months among patients who were hospitalized

The Government Accountability Office estimates that long COVID has potentially affected up to 23 million Americans, pushing an estimated 1 million out of work. 

Dr. Teitelbaum points out that post-viral CFS following COVID is a pandemic within a pandemic. Like H1N1, SARS, and MERS, debilitation can linger for months and even years after contracting a virus, leaving patients without a satisfactory diagnosis or effective treatment. Research has shown that 27 percent of SARS survivors (another coronavirus) had CFS four years after their initial infection.

As Dr. T has explained before, long COVID and post-viral chronic fatigue syndrome represent an energy crisis in the body in which the hypothalamus, a key circuit breaker in the brain, is "switched off." This presents as a wide range of confounding, chronic symptoms that, as the CDC report also concluded, make diagnosis especially challenging. 

Dr. T's landmark, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome provides a roadmap for effective treatment, which can be used with long COVID and other cases of post-viral CFS. The research, which featured Dr. T's S.H.I.N.E.® treatment protocol, showed a 91 percent improvement in quality of life among 90 percent of subjects with CFS. The time is right to explore this tested and proven treatment to help those suffering from Long COVID, just as it has helped thousands get their lives back after years of struggling with CFS.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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