Association of Self-Reported COVID-19 Infection and SARS-CoV-2 Serology Test Results With Persistent Physical Symptoms Among French Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic, JAMA Internal Medicine, 8 November 2021
Conclusions and Relevance: The findings of this cross-sectional analysis of a large, population-based French cohort suggest that persistent physical symptoms after COVID-19 infection may be associated more with the belief in having been infected with SARS-CoV-2 than with having laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection. Further research in this area should consider underlying mechanisms that may not be specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A medical evaluation of these patients may be needed to prevent symptoms due to another disease being erroneously attributed to “long COVID.”
Look at all the symptoms people ascribe to COVID when they never had it – but thought they did.
Given this data, “long covid”, to the degree it’s being reported in the media, is probably not real. Not saying people don’t experience after-effects from an illness, but COVID does not seem unique here. It is likely a placebo effect, or in this case, a nocebo effect. (A placebo effect refers to a positive outcome when the belief that something positive will happen. A nocebo effect refers to a negative outcome when the belief that something negative will happen.)