The article published in NY Magazine on Nov 4, 2022, “Has Long COVID Always Existed? The pandemic might not have spawned a new chronic illness but rebranded an old one,” was a disappointing step back 30 years to a time when the science of post-viral conditions was young. Back then, the default response to an illness we couldn’t explain was to blame it on a mental disorder, especially when it affected a minority. This happened to women with multiple sclerosis and lupus until the science advanced.
As a group, we are surprised and troubled by the misrepresentation of information provided by Emily Taylor, Dr. Hornig, Dr. Bateman, and the absence of the existing science. We stand with the CDC, the NIH, the Mayo Clinic, Harvard and Stanford researchers, and scientists at institutions around the world who are studying virology, immunology, metabolomics, the autonomic nervous system, and the brain to help unravel these illnesses. We see Long Covid as a catalyst to help us understand decades of delayed progress in understanding post-viral and post-infection conditions such as ME/CFS and debilitating dysautonomias.
The evidence base surrounding the research and clinical care of individuals impacted by ME/CFS, Long Covid, and related co-morbid conditions continues to grow and support the overwhelming need to bring awareness and funding to these diseases. This progress is possible because of emerging collaborations among the patient advocacy community, clinicians, and scientists, working against the clock during a pandemic. Responsible and ethical journalism should also be a powerful tool for educating each other with facts.
We have contacted Wise and NYM and have called for a retraction of the article. We will continue to further educate, advance the science, and advocate for these underserved and misrepresented people in our communities.
Lucinda Bateman, MD
Mady Hornig, MA, MD
Emily Taylor, MA