Study: Those who had Delta Covid more likely to be long haulers than Omicron

Jeff Whitmer described what it’s been like for him to experience what is called long Covid or long-haul Covid.

"My every day feels like I just got done with a four or five-hour basketball practice," said Whitmer.

He contracted coronavirus in November of 2020, the symptoms were mild - but the effects lingered.

"Mid-January I started to feel tired, I didn’t get a sense of taste or smell until August of 2021," he said. "Everyone’s like hey you look fine,  you sound fine. They also don’t know when I get home I can hardly move - because I’m so tired."

Long-Covid symptoms are now being studied with greater depth and regularity. Persistent brain fog, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, and other symptoms that just don’t seem to abate.

Now UK researchers have published a new study in the Lancet, which appears to show that the omicron variant of COVID-19 could be less likely than Delta to result in long Covid.

"The fact that it’s a more mild illness may be linked to why there’s less Covid there, but that's my theory - we don’t know the exact mechanism," said Dr. Dennis Cunngham.

But understanding why there’s a difference in long-Covid risk from variant to variant, may take time.

Cunningham, the assistant medical director for infection prevention at Henry Ford Health, says just because you had a mild case of any variant, like what Jeff experienced, it doesn’t mean the symptoms won’t linger.

"It does not appear to be linked to how severe your Covid infection was," the doctor said. "Some people with mild symptoms go on to have long Covid. Some people with severe Covid in the hospital, don't have any symptoms. We suspect there may be some autoimmune phenomena going on here.  We don’t know exactly - that makes it such a tricky thing to treat."

Vaccination according to this study, appears to be one way to mitigate the risk of long Covid.

"If you had a vaccine - even just one dose of the vaccine, your chances of getting long Covid were five times lower," Cunningham said.

FOX 2: "How certain can we be about this study?"

"What I do like, is this was over 56,000 people in Great Britain," he said.

Dr. Cunningham says we don’t have the data to determine the effects of therapeutics like anti-viral medications and monoclonal antibodies on long Covid.