NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s been a sharp worldwide decline in new COVID cases. Yet, there’s still more to learn about breakthrough cases and the projected epidemic of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Doctor Arjun Venkatesh, the Chief of Emergency Medicine Administration for Yale Medicine and an associate professor at Yale School of Medicine, said the decline in new COVID cases is good news, but not good everywhere. Venkatesh explained that cases are down almost 40% in highly populated countries of Southeast Asia.
“On the other hand, cases are up 20% in Russia and parts of Eastern Europe and so just like us in the United States,” Venkatesh said. “We can see cases go down in one area and go up in another area.”
Venkatesh said that the American surge is “not really complete and we really have a lot of work to still do to get out of this pandemic.”
However, breakthrough cases of Omicron – where people test positive for COVID after two or three doses of the vaccine – tend to be mild, Venkatesh said. Those experiencing breakthrough symptoms might have a runny nose, cold, or mild headache, which is what Venkatesh said “our new normal starts looking like.”
On the other hand, chronic fatigue syndrome is something that doctors have studied for years. Venkatesh said that while the syndrome is different than long COVID, the symptoms are very similar, as people feel fatigued malaise and less exercise capacity.
“If you think about the fact that 80 million Americans have been infected with COVID, the idea that 88 or 90 million people may have long term symptoms is a real problem for the country,” Venkatesh said.
Venkatesh also addressed a study where exercise after a COVID shot reportedly helps build better immunity. The study shows that 36 people had a COVID shot and 20 had the flu shot. Right after the shot, some people worked out for 90 minutes – either walking on the treadmill or riding a stationary bike – and others did not exercise at all.
Two to four weeks after the study, those that exercised after the shot had more antibodies.
While Venkatesh said this does not mean we know if exercise is any early evidence or prevents COVID infections, he noted that exercise is good for all of us.
“If you’re up for it, we can workout a little bit after a shot,” Venkatesh said. “I don’t see the harm.”