Covid

Table of Contents

Covid – absolute basics

The following is a high level summary, links to published studies are here

Covid, more accurately the virus SARS-COV-2, impacts and causes damage to every system in the human body. The following discusses the most significant areas that are impacting large numbers of people and that are well understood .

The Acute phase is where people say “I’ve got Covid”, some people do become very unwell and there are still high numbers of deaths, albeit lower than earlier years. Most disinformation focuses on how deaths and hospitalisations are trending down so this is good news we are past the worst.

Unfortunately what is now known is that for most people the danger from Covid infection is long term. The virus has continually evolved to become more infectious and (for most people) less severe during the initial infection phase. Note as the virus becomes more immune evasive – that doesn’t just mean you can get reinfected more easily, it means it hides from your immune system, so you don’t get a reaction, so you think it is ‘mild’. In fact, it just sneaked into your body unseen.

SARS-COV-2 enters the body through the upper respiratory tract but then passes though the membranes to enter the blood stream, from where it travels to the heart and then into the lungs and every other major organ. Covid is not a respiratory illness – this is used to make covid seem like a cold or the flu.

Covid puts your body into a persistent inflammatory state – and at the same time suppresses cells’ expression of infection so the immune antibodies just surge around the body unable to find targets, causing damage to your vascular system, brain and all other organs in the process. Think of a car not in gear but with the accelerator held flat down, for weeks. Cardiologists describe covid as a vasculitis because damage to the vascular system is so widespread and it has been know since the very early days that many people develop micro-clots after infection. Neurologists describe covid as a neurological condition, because there is direct damage and disruption within the brain and this could be driving the inflammation which then causes heart attack, stroke and other organ damage. Evidence of brain damage is now overwhelming. None of the above is linked to severity of initial infection, for a small percentage of the population the initial covid infection causes immediate illness or death, for the vast majority covid damage is gradual and will only cause severe illness some years later. Repeat infections accelerate the internal damage.

The immune system revs up, possibly in response to the inflammation, possibly causing it or both in a vicious cycle. Key elements become exhausted / depleted over time in a way highly reminiscent of how HIV destroys the immune system. It is not thought this happens to everyone but it is also possible that just not enough time has passed yet to see this in everyone, HIV takes around 8 years to reduce the immune system to a critical level. It is now known the covid virus can persist in the body which could be driving the longer term damage in some or all people.

All the above is very difficult to accept if it is new to you and you have not been following the research. Unfortunately governments decided that protecting public health would do too much harm to the economy so concluded that whatever level of death and long term disability occurred was just the price that had to be paid. The millions of people out of work are not feigning sickness, they are sick. Very few people want to have no job and no life. A recent large cohort study found that over 40% of people with Long Covid were not able to return to full time work.

All the above can happen to anyone, of any age, irrespective of previous health and after any reinfection.

It is simply impossible to overstate how bad Covid is based on the state of current scientific knowledge. It is similarly impossible to reconcile this to the fact that everyone firmly believes the pandemic is behind us and the danger to most people is low.

Long Covid

The above interview is from January 2024, Dr Rae Duncan features elsewhere on this site because a) she is one of the leading experts working day in and day out on Long Covid, and b) she is exceptionally clear when explaining what we know.

Those campaigning for support and research use the phrase Long Covid to describe all post covid conditions, in an attempt to get people to understand how huge the problem is. Most people who say “I’ve got Long Covid” are generally suffering with a particular subset which is mainly autonomic, meaning a disrupted central nervous system.

Common symptoms are Post Exertional Malaise, PEM, which is experienced by people with ME, it feels like extreme exhaustion but is the body no longer processing energy properly. A neurological deficit described as ‘brain fog’ but again a very real change in the way the brain is functioning that makes concentrating difficult or impossible. Then heart palpitations, sustained high heart rate when not exerting energy, dizziness, nausea, inability to regulate temperature, sensitivity to light and a huge list of other possible symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms a good start is to get tested for POTS

You will read and hear a lot of downplaying of Long Covid. “It mainly affected people infected with the alpha and beta variants”, “it can last for more than 3 months”, “symptoms include feeling tired”. The truth is there is no treatment and no cure, very few people have recovered, people have been ill for years. In the 12 months from March 2023 to March 2024 the number of children with Long Covid doubled from 60,000 to 120,000. This fact alone reveals the dishonesty in the endless ‘news’ coverage of the condition.

People with Long Covid have the added, also devastating, emotional toll of close and even immediate friends and family distancing themselves and not making the effort to properly understand Long Covid, asking if they are feeling better every time they meet, saying how terrible it is for them before saying they are heading off to a packed restaurant, or refusing to comply with requests for basic mitigations ahead of a planned get together.

People with Long Covid are forced to withdraw from society so are not visible, this means society concludes ‘everyone is fine’. When you meet someone with Long Covid they are putting every ounce of energy they have into appearing happy and looking nice (or appearing to be OK so they don’t lose their job). Also claims that 10% or more of all infections result in Long Covid don’t correlate with our day to day experience – everyone is getting Covid, clearly not 10% are severely ill, this is just fear mongering. The disconnect arises because of the huge range of illness covered by the term but also by the normalisation of a much higher level of general illness within the population. Also by the fact that they falsely believe they have recovered.

The biggest thing not understood by most people is that the risk of developing Long Covid increases with each reinfection. Pretty much everyone has had Covid, ‘recovered’ and on that basis concluded that for them Covid is not a major worry. This is just wishful thinking not aligned with any of the science.

Resources:

Powerful 6 minute video from a young cellist explaining the impact of Long Covid on his life and career – if you know someone with Long Covid, please find time to watch this

Webinar by an organisation called Pandemic Patients, this is a number of people sharing their experience of Long Covid. As above, if you know someone with Long Covid please try and watch this to help you understand what they are going through.

Long Covid Kids website – incredible charity supporting children and families affected by Long Covid, website has comprehensive library of published research

Dec 2023 Good summary of current knowledge and possible effectiveness of anti-virals for preventing Long Covid

March 2023 – Long COVID: Incidence, Impacts, And Implications, article by David Putrino, who is at the forefront of research for cures for Long Covid and ME/CFS worldwide

Children

Just some quick basic facts then a video to watch.

  • Children tend to have less severe acute reactions to a Covid infection, often completely asymptomatic – so it is easy to be persuaded that they are not being affected.
  • The hidden longer term internal damage that Covid inflicts affects children in the same ways it affects adults.
  • Schools are known to be the main source of community transmission – it is simply ridiculous to pretend children are not getting infected with Covid repeatedly
  • Over 120 thousand children in the UK are already living with Long Covid, double the number from 2023
  • School absence is at record levels
  • Schools can be made safer with basic ventilation and air cleaning, multiple studies have proved sickness levels are reduced when Hepa filters are deployed. In the UK even where parents have bought filters and tried to give them to schools, in almost all cases the head teachers are refusing to allow them to be used hiding behind government guidelines.
  • Schools are demanding parents send their children to school even with a positive Covid test “as long as they feel OK” and demanding the same of teachers. Attendance officers are even threatening and taking legal action against parents. At the same time we are listening to the Covid inquiry and saying how shocking it is that the government ignored the science “during the pandemic”, seemingly being incapable of making the mental leap to realise that this is happening right now.
  • Heading into the end of 2023 the 0 to 4 years age group is experiencing the highest level of covid related hospitalisation other than age groups over 60
  • Globally school children are showing lower educational attainment and more problems concentrating. This is being blamed on a few months of lockdown over 3 years ago – not the virus they keep being reinfected with that is known to directly attack the brain.
  • We are supposed to keep children safe, not hide from information about Covid so we can keep going to restaurants.
This video is from an Independent Sage online meeting, the incredible Dr Rae Duncan who is a cardiologist and Long Covid expert.

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