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Monday, March 4, 2024
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HomeCOVID-19Where TCW leads the BMJ follows

Where TCW leads the BMJ follows

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WE HAVE been questioning the long Covid narrative on these pages since early in 2022. We have questioned its existence, its use to lever the next round of Covid vaccine rollout, the possibility that the syndrome is being confused with Covid vaccine side effects and we have called for some common sense.

It has taken some time for the medical establishment to catch up, but at last they seem to have done just that. A recent article in the queue for publication at the peer reviewed journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine has arrived at the same conclusion as we have.

The study, published under the ‘Analysis’ column of the journal with international authorship from the US, Denmark and London, makes some awkward reading for those who adhere to the long Covid narrative. All the points we have made in the past are there, including the very broad definition of long Covid which means that almost any symptom that anyone suffers following a bout of Covid is ascribed to long Covid. We have seen how the list, initially in double figures, was honed down to fewer than ten only to grow again into double figures. On that basis, if we put our minds to it, we could all have long Covid. The fact that there are also very different definitions of long Covid existing across organisations such as the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UK National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is included.

A key point made in the article is the ‘striking absence of control groups’. Put simply, if someone who has had Covid claims that they have long Covid, they are believed without comparing the number of people who have never had Covid reporting the same symptoms. Where rigorous designs have been used, including properly matched controls, the results have been described as ‘reassuring’; in other words, reassuring in the sense that the extent of long Covid may well be exaggerated. Not included in the article is the report that half the people who report having long Covid have never had Covid, something we have referred to several times.

Of key importance is what the authors refer to as the ‘unintended consequences’ of exaggerating the issue of long Covid which include ‘increased societal anxiety and healthcare spending, a failure to diagnose other treatable conditions misdiagnosed as long Covid and diversion of funds and attention from those who truly suffer from chronic condition’. In the wake of Covid measures which led to the near-closure of the NHS, waiting lists which continue to grow and the increase in undiagnosed and untreated cancer and cardiovascular disease, the long Covid narrative is simply adding to our problems.

It becomes increasingly clear that long Covid exists because people want it to exist. The kind of people who fell for the Covid narrative hook, line and surgical face mask, simply cannot let go of their addiction to catastrophe (which is a real thing). The public health fascists who stock our university health faculties and the higher echelons of the NHS need some excuse to maintain the culture of fear. All of this plays into the pockets of Big Pharma who have warehouses full of vaccines to sell.

It is unlikely that the BMJ article will turn things around and get us off the long Covid bandwagon, but it does offer a glimpse of hope.

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

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