It was only yesterday that I was echoing Mark Twain (or whoever said it about the weather) when I suggested, everybody talks about Long Covid but nobody does anything about it.
Well, at least I just found another current study, this one from the CDC,.
My main takeaway from this one is that nearly twice as many women as men have Long Covid.
Thsi echoes a mini study done in our household, when the female has more symptoms than the male. (see CDC link directly below:)
And then there's this:
Long COVID patients have clear differences in immune and hormone function from patients without the condition, according to a new study led by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Yale School of Medicine.
The research, published in the September 25 issue of Nature, is the first to show specific blood biomarkers that can accurately identify patients with long COVID.
Sometimes it’s called Brain Fog. Comes and goes, like coastal fogs, but more dangerous.
That ache in one limb or another that cuts down on activity and mobility, leading to expensive and grueling trips to medical centers that do not lead to any result except they found nothing.
Recently, The New York Times ran, in the invaluable Health Section, an essay by Paula Span called “Long Covid Poses Special Challenges for Seniors.” It proposes that Long Covid is real and formidable and must be acknowledged before we can adapt to it.
Span writes about a librarian in Michigan who was walking all over Ann Arbor, often four miles a day, until she got whacked in March of 2020, before most people had been warned by any responsible agency or government.
“The virus caused extreme chills, shortness of breath, a nervous system disorder and such cognitive decline that, for months, Ms. Anderson was unable to read a book.”
Still, people search for information beyond the glib explanations on the tube and the dismissals by people who think the pandemic is over, or harmless, or never existed. (I hear that even in a generally enlightened corner of the world.)
On Sunday, I saw Dr. Anthony Fauci on TV on Sunday. Can’t remember what channel or what host. (Brain Fog, indeed.) But his words were current, and my general memory of the interview was that “they” or “we” still do not know much -- and Brain Fog generally may be an explanation for….whatever.
On Monday morning, I poked around online to see what is available.
First, since the government has apparently decided Covid is serious again, I signed up for four free test kits, via: https://www.covid.gov/tests
Next, I found an article from the New York Times from only two days ago, warning that a cold virus could set the stage for Long Covid.
Then I found an article that says women have a 50 per cent higher chance of developing Long Covid than men
My general impression is that the major health institutions are just beginning to acknowledge/study Long Covid. Stay tuned, if you can still focus.
However, the Web does include examples of people and regions that were taking Covid – and it’s long-form product – seriously.
For example, I found a site from the UK that included a graphic about Long Covid for adults and children. (It’s from 2021 but it seems relevant -- more than ever.) It disclosed contacts for support groups in regional areas in England and Wales.
Print it out. It is ideal for the refrigerator door and could also be stored in a cellphone for display when people start proposing indoor activities.
Recently I met some of my longest friends – outdoors, in a park all of us know. It was wonderful – and made me realize all over again the fellowship I have missed in the past 3 ½ years. (Two of 20 came down with Covid within days and are doing okay.)
Last fall (don’t tell anybody) I went to a memorial for two of my Spencer cousins, in deepest New Jersey. I absolutely had to be there, and am deeply happy that I saw other cousins, caught up on decades of life. I credit my safety to God’s grace.
Some people seem to be going everywhere, doing everything. They know the stuff is all around us, but they go. Occasionally, we take a huge psychic breath and see a good friend or relative indoors, but generally, even for family reunions I recite my internal recorded announcement – that this stuff keeps morphing, and we just can’t take many more chances.
Meantime, with deep sorrow, I am ducking a large gathering of good friends and colleagues in a crowded pub because I just can’t afford the flying molecules while laughing, crying and hugging.
We two elders are hunkering. We’ve had two, maybe three, cases of Covid. The one at the end of 2022 was brutal, followed by a very wet and sloppy case of RSV, I think. Happy new year, indeed.
When we go to our very good doctors, we talk of our trying symptoms of Long Covid. The doctors acknowledge it, and they take care of us, and we try to wait out Long Covid, whatever it is.
Nice visual of Long Covid from the UK. 2 years old and counting.
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.