Monday, May 27, 2024
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The long and winding covid


IT IS in the nature of chronic conditions, even ones that don’t exist, that they don’t go away. Purveyors of panic over long covid, such as our favourite source of information Global Health Now, have simply refused to report an important study showing that it was most likely not distinct from other post-viral syndromes, with the logical conclusion that what people are reporting as long covid may not even be caused by Covid-19. However, these days, everything bad must be caused by covid including cancer, heart disease and many phenomena that are almost undoubtedly side-effects of the vaccines.

But the cracks are beginning to show. You just have to read reports carefully to realise that. In a recent article in the Australian Journal of General Practice (AJGP), purported sufferers from long covid are urged to ‘take heart’. It appears ‘that long COVID is, at last, receiving the attention it requires’. Really? Where have these authors been for the last three to four years? As panic about covid itself waned the ante has been nothing but upped regarding the phenomenon of long covid. We have been reporting this regularly in these pages.

In the AJGP article the figures presented for those alleged to be suffering from long covid are staggering. For example, ‘1,500 patients per week are referred to UK long COVID clinics’ and ‘In Australia, an estimated 240,000 of those with long COVID no longer work full time.’ While the raw figures taken at face value are not in dispute, these do seem high. But, given the latest news about the non-unique nature of long covid, how many of these cases are caused by something other than covid and how many are false? After all, nobody has yet conducted a study of the correlation between the amount of publicity about long covid and those reporting that they have it.

Buried deep in the article, however, is an equally staggering admission that we have not yet witnessed elsewhere in the medical literature and that is the possibility, often raised in these pages, that the covid vaccines themselves may be responsible for the phenomenon of long covid. The authors of the AJGP article say there is ‘concern that COVID-19 vaccination per se might contribute to long COVID, giving rise to the colloquial term “Long Vax(x)”.’ And ‘The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 exhibits pathogenic characteristics and is a possible cause of post-acute sequelae after SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 vaccination.’ Well, we never! One imagines that this is a line of inquiry that will not be pursued by many medical researchers for fear of ending their careers.

In other news, the trolling about long covid continues. Another of our favourite outlets, CIDRAP, the newsletter of the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy at the University of Minnesota, reports on the long-term burden of covid in US adults, claiming that ‘Roughly 17million adults currently have long covid’. Note the ‘roughly’. It also says that ‘persistent symptoms occur most often among people who are transgender or have disabilities’. Surely there may be a clue there as to the nature of long covid. Transgender people have a mental illness; if a man can convince himself (and a psychiatrist) he is a woman then he can probably convince himself (and his doctor) that he has long covid. People with disabilities are notoriously prone to other debilitating conditions.

Help is at hand, though. Again, as reported in CIDRAP, US Senator Bernie Sanders is calling for a $10billion long covid ‘moonshot’ which would ‘earmark $1billion per year over ten years for long-COVID research over the next decade’. Clearly, long covid is not going away any time soon.

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Roger Watson
Roger Watson
Roger Watson is a Professor of Nursing.

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