Here are some findings on COVID19 / Long COVID. (LC) Accoring to this Guardian article on Long COVID there are some common symptoms reported by people who’ve caught COVID and which are symptoms now associated with the condition they call Long COVID.
Long COVID Figures
Firstly, The Guardian have collated figures that suggest that possibly up to 38% of people who catch COVID have LC symptoms for some time afterwards. They define “some time afterwards” as one month to a year or longer, and we won’t know for a while, I guess, if some symptoms persist forever after.
Note: I’ve also found a claim that that in another sample of COVID patients, only 5% reported long COVID symptoms. But I question that because my overwhelming experience has been that around one quarter to one third of people I know around the globe who’ve had COVID reported long recovery periods more consistent with LC than normal recovery times. I’m more inclined to go with The Guardian on this one.— https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-24/long-covid-nsw-research-five-per-cent-of-patients-slow-recovery/100241420
Whatever the percentage, a very large majority (84%) of the patients that did acquire long COVID reported that they’re excessively fatigued. Now I’ve mentioned in a recent article that we’ve become a society no longer accustomed to long convalescences for reasons both social and medical, and the thought occurs to me that maybe COVID19 is one of those diseases that is, to us in this Century, as debilitating as those various illnesses probably were to past generations, knocking the stuffing out of people for months and actually requiring long convalescence periods?
Almost three quarters of people with long COVID experienced Post Exertion Malaise, a thing I can describe to you. You know the saying about how many spoons you have and how you have to manage them? Well, PEM’s like that but some days you have a spoon, some days you have a few spoons, and more days you have none.
What I Know Now
As you may gather I’m well familiar with some of the symptoms of long COVID. Many of them were around long before long COVID and people called them fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic pain syndrome and ME-CFS but it took something like COVID to raise awareness, now, at a time when a sizeable chunk of the population has long COVID for several months or more. These syndromes might just get a bit more attention now that they’re affecting more than a handful of people.
I’ve had my experiences with them long enough that I’ve had time to adjust to and learn to manage many of those symptoms, but almost all symptoms got worse post COVID. Many of those conditions appeared after or were aggravated by a really horrid flu that went around in 2016 and that we both caught.
I’ve been surprised by a return of tingling in my hands, which I’d had prior to COVID but which I’d managed – and which is now back in force. That’s been a surprising (and really exasperating) effect. Also poor sleep and insomnia have started again, leading to fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
A Few Grass Roots Figures
I’m on a site that collates patient information on various conditions, StuffThatWorks. It does cool stuff like let you put in a condition you have, and then asks you to rate various things such as your symptoms, treatment efficiencies, comorbidities (stuff that you may also have along with that condition) and so forth. Every so often when they get past a critical sample size of patients, they publish things called “Insights.” Here are some Insights I’ve been emailed of some conditions with regard to post COVID.
- 51% of people who have “silent migraine” report LC.
- If people have fibromyalgia, 58% report LC.
- And paradoxically (or perhaps understandably) people with psoriasis only report getting LC in 28% of cases.
That last one is significant. Because the Guardian article on LC claims that 38% of people across the entire spectrum (i.e. without accounting for – or necessarily even having – comorbidities) reported having LC symptoms. So it seems that having psoriasis may protect against some of the worst effects of COVID whereas neurological issues make one far more prone to them.
I was told when I was diagnosed with psoriasis that you’re less likely to catch viral diseases like influenza (what a load of BS that turned out to be for me…) etc. But I not only caught every damn flu going every year, vaccination or not, but also mononucleosis aka glandular fever. And I have silent migraines.
Long COVID And Us
I also just published a forgotten article today that I started when it seemed like my ONE & ONLY experience with COVID has left me with some permanent Long COVID conditions. Turns out it probably has, tests etc pending.
Are you getting that? ONE. One exposure and infection and LC has got a hold of me.
Follow me on this: If you catch COVID, there’s an extremely good chance (approaching certainty) that it will leave you with some organ damage. This is true of almost every disease or virus we catch. Every infectious disease does some damage to some organ – be that blood, muscle, nerves, skin, or major organs – and it’s NEVER insignificant.
So COVID will leave scars on your heart or lungs or brain or liver, and that’s just a fact. Getting stabbed with a knife will leave a scar on the skin that may fade over a decade or two, but the damage it did to any muscle or organ inside will generally stay for much longer. COVID is like being stabbed in multiple organs by hundreds of thousands of little virus-particle-shaped bites.
That previous article I just mentioned you can see that Long COVID has a lot of presentations, affects lots of your body’s systems, and can last from a few months to life. The stakes are pretty high. I doubt anyone really wants to be knifed in the kidneys or have a chunk of lung surgically removed, or a piece of brain tissue excised. But COVID and Long COVID do things like this – every time.
If you’re young and resilient, the damage done by a single COVID infection will probably repair itself. I have scars from accidents while climbing, working with tools, falling off dirt bikes and antenna towers, and countless – oh so many – viruses acquired in my lifetime. Some have healed, while others – well, let’s say they still give me opportunity to rue those days I was so young and careless…
Summarising: There is quite literally zero chance that catching COVID won’t do some damage, all the way from negligible to respirator and a coffin. Those are already bad odds, but then look at the statistics I posted a few paragraphs back. Nearly 4 in ten will get some amount of Long COVID symptoms. Hardly surprising when you consider that damage is done every time you contract COVID. Stands to reason some of it may be worse, some last longer, and some be permanent.
When the damage lasts longer than a few weeks, you’re already having Long COVID. From what I can glean from those figures a few paragraphs back, it confirms that between one tenth and one half of people who have Long COVID have longer-term Long COVID.
Each time you contract COVID, you have better than a one in ten chance of it becoming Long COVID.
You may not play Lotto because the odds (at several hundred million to one) aren’t really that attractive. But what if I told you that if you play my version of Lotto, you had a one in four chance of winning the million-dollar jackpot every time you played? You’d take those odds, right? It’s almost a sure thing, right?
Well, every time you go out, you stand a one in “X” chance of acquiring a COVID infection, where “X” depends on where you live and are going out. Now remember the utter panic and fear when COVID was declared a pandemic in 2019/2020 and we had physical lockdowns to limit the spread of the virus?
COVID hasn’t slowed down since then, in fact, it’s sizzling along at a far greater rate all over the world. We have a greater chance of acquiring the virus today than we did in the first year. So every time you go out without a mask, you stand a good chance of falling to the virus, or perhaps unwittingly giving it to another person. And you (or the person you infect) have a better than one in ten chance of progressing to Long COVID and by Long that may mean a lifetime, one way or another.
So if I now told you you stand a one in ten chance of winning a life free of Long COVID just by wearing a mask when you go out – why wouldn’t you? And if I told you that the second time, you’d be even more likely to acquire (or avoid…) Long COVID, and an even better chance the next time and the next – then that should seal it for you. Masks masks masks. Because eventually there’ll come a re-infection that also comes with a 100% chance that you’ll have long-term disabling Long COVID.
An interesting thing crossed my timeline and is one of the reasons I’m posting this article. It reads:
Most people do not have a plan for if long COVID takes away their ability to work. The odds of long COVID itself are 1 in 10 each infection and rising with repeated infections due to cumulative damage.— ex one of my messenger services.
If your current group of friends etc discourages you from masking up and protecting yourself, they will not help you if this happens. I know this first hand.
Again, act accordingly. Better to be the odd one out with a mask right now, than regretting you didn’t do more later on.
And there it is. I have a very mild Long COVID – it may come good again or I may be stuck with it. No matter what, if I catch COVID again, it’s certain it’ll hit me harder, have worse effects, and my chances of Long COVID will be greater, as will the chances that the next one will disable me or even kill me. There’s no reasoning, no amount of self-justification will help. It’s a zero-win situation if you let yourself get infected.
So – do you have some kind of loss of work insurance? Do you have friends who’ll support you in your life the way they’re encouraging you to not wear a mask if you become disabled by COVID? Do you think the government will keep on handing out disability pensions if more and more people basically commit slow suicide by unmasking? There comes a point where you really need to think about these things.
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