A musician in his twenties claims he’s been housebound for a year because of the grueling effects of Lange Covid.
Reece Jacob, 29, from Whalley Range, Manchester, was infected with Covid in March last year.
He says the crippling fatigue he’s been through since then means he can’t play guitar for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Mr. Jacob was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or chronic fatigue syndrome – a long-term condition that causes extreme exhaustion, pain and brain fog – by his primary care physician last summer after never fully recovering from the initial infection.
But he’s now been referred to a clinic specifically designed to treat Covid long-term, with scientists working around the clock to improve their understanding of the condition.
According to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus, up to one fifth of all survivors suffer from long-lasting symptoms. Other estimates are slightly lower.
Lange Covid is the term given to a group of symptoms that linger for months after a patient has recovered from the disease. The most common side effects are fatigue and ‘brain fog’, but others can be more serious, such as depression and anxiety.
Mr. Jacob said he is unable to do anything for more than two hours and 45 minutes a day that “requires some cognitive effort,” or he risks crashing.
Housework is ‘out of the question’ and the maximum he can cook are meals that last five or ten minutes, because that’s the maximum amount of time he can keep going. It has resulted in him being completely dependent on the people around him for simple daily tasks.
Musician Reese, 29, has been housebound for a year due to the effects of Long Covid
He told it BBC: ‘I have different symptoms. Fatigue, shortness of breath, tight chest. It often feels like I am not getting enough air.
It’s a really heavy feeling, almost like being crushed under the weight of something.
‘When I crash, it’s almost like someone has been stacking sandbags on me.
“Sometimes the shortness of breath gets out of hand and it feels like I’m going back into that acute phase of the virus.”
Mr. Jacob currently cannot run for more than 10 minutes at a time and cannot even play video games for more than half an hour, he said.
His first long Covid appointment will be over the phone on a hands-free handset – so he won’t have to wait too long – and his girlfriend Alice Phelps is on hand to help.
Information no longer goes’ the same way, ‘he said, so he needs help understanding doctors’ advice.
Reece (pictured before contracting the virus) was infected with Covid in March last year and is unable to play guitar for more than 20 minutes at a time due to persistent symptoms.
He told the BBC: ‘Sometimes the symptoms are so profound that I feel like I can’t do anything. I can’t even watch TV.
‘I used to be very active in my work. As a musician and performing on stage, you exert a tremendous amount of energy to entertain people.
‘Now I can play guitar for maybe 20, 30 minutes. This is something I love to do, I miss it. ‘
But the uncertainty as to whether he will get better or not was the most troubling part of the illness, he said.
Not knowing if he will ever be able to return to what he was like before Covid felt “almost like a grieving process.”
Miss Phelps said, “I think you know there are going to be questions that will arise if Reece’s health problem stays the way it is, then we will have to address new issues.
“The kind of thing that most couples our age would plan is going to be more difficult for us at this point.”
More than 90 percent of people continue to experience symptoms for at least three months after hospitalization with Covid, suggests a paper to the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE).
The government is now pumping £ 18.5 million into Long Covid’s study and has set up 69 clinics specifically for patients with the condition.
It comes after a study presented to No10’s top advisers last month claimed that nine out of 10 Covid hospital patients suffer from persistent symptoms for months after being discharged.
Of the 325 survivors in the UK, 93 percent reported having at least one ‘long Covid’ symptom at least three months after recovery.
The most common symptoms were fatigue (77 percent) and shortness of breath (54 percent), but nearly a quarter had more serious problems with their vision, memory, or brain function.
The study, led by Glasgow University, was presented to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) on Feb. 25.
SAGE said the study showed that there were three different syndromes associated with Long Covid.
It said: “The first of these clusters includes fatigue, shortness of breath with exertion, headache, dizziness, muscle pain, joint pain, balance disorder and limb weakness.
The second is nestled in the first and includes muscle pain, joint pain, balance disorders and limb weakness.
“The third includes loss of smell, taste, difficulty urinating, weight loss, and appetite disorders.”
What are the long-term symptoms of Covid-19?
Most coronavirus patients recover within a fortnight, have a fever, cough and lose their sense of smell or taste for several days.
However, there is some evidence that the telltale symptoms of the virus can persist for weeks on end in ‘long haulers’ – the term for patients plagued with lasting complications.
Data from the COVID Symptom Study app, by King’s College London and health company Zoe, suggests that one in 10 people still has symptoms after three weeks, and some may suffer for months.
Long-term symptoms include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Increased heart rate
- Loss of taste / smell
- Kidney disease
- Mobility issues
- muscle strain
For those with more serious illness, Italian researchers who followed 143 people hospitalized with the illness found that nearly 90 percent still had symptoms, including fatigue two months after first becoming unwell.
The most common complaints were fatigue, shortness of breath and joint pain – all of which were reported in their battle with the disease.
Another study in Italy found that one in ten people who lose their sense of taste and smell due to the coronavirus – now recognized as a major sign of the infection – may not get it back within a month.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, involved 187 Italians who had the virus but were not sick enough to be hospitalized.
The UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has said the long-term effects of Covid-19 on health could be ‘significant’.
Support groups such as Long Covid have surfaced online for those who have suspected ‘Covid-19 and your experience does not follow the manual or recovery time symptoms’.