Prolonged Brain Dysfunction in COVID-19 Survivors: A Pandemic in its Own Right?

Yves here. We are running this post because Covid brain impairment is an important topic in its own right, and also to counter the dangerous patter we keep encountering in comments about how Covid is overblown because not all that many people die of it. This is “Oh, it’s no worse than the seasonal flu” 2.0, when no seasonal flu has reduced life expectancy or pushed hospitals across the US to their breaking point.

But the issue that this article highlights is that the danger of Covid goes far beyond the risk of death. For instance:

20% of Covid victims, including many who had asymptomatic cases, suffer from long Covid. The symptoms are severe enough to interfere with daily routines. If you’ve had mono as an adult, you’ll have an idea of the degree of debilitation

Nearly 2/3 of patients who get Covid pneumonia show lung abnormalities 6 months after recovery, and in 35%, the damage may be permanent

In a similar vein, from OSF Healthcare:

Not all patients who end up with long-term lung damage have underlying diseases. We do have healthy people who got infected with COVID and they have significant lung disease even if they don’t have any prior medical condition. So they don’t have diabetes, cancer, kidney disease – they are completely healthy and all different age groups. There are patients who are 20, 30, or 40 years old who have COVID who are healthy before and end up on home oxygen with significant lung disease,” explains Nasser Zakieh, M.D., pulmonologist and medical director of critical care medicine, OSF HealthCare

And the Houston Chronicle:

Bankhead-Kendall is an assistant professor of surgery with Texas Tech University in Lubbock and has treated thousands of patients since the pandemic broke out in March. She said it’s a rare occurrence when any of her patients’ X-rays come back clear of dense scarring.

“Everyone’s just so worried about the mortality thing and that’s terrible and it’s awful,” she shared with CBS 11 News’s Nicole Nielsen. “But man, all the survivors and the people who have tested positive this is, it’s going to be a problem.”

Those who experienced COVID-19 symptoms have shown a severe chest X-ray every single time, Bankhead-Kendall told Nielsen, while asymptomatic patients showed severe chest X-rays 70 to 80 percent of the time.

From the American Heart Association:

A growing number of studies suggest many COVID-19 survivors experience some type of heart damage, even if they didn’t have underlying heart disease and weren’t sick enough to be hospitalized. This latest twist has health care experts worried about a potential increase in heart failure….

Nearly one-fourth of those hospitalized with COVID-19 have been diagnosed with cardiovascular complications, which have been shown to contribute to roughly 40% of all COVID-19-related deaths…

Another JAMA Cardiology study used cardiac MRIs on 100 people who had recovered from COVID-19 within the past two to three months. Researchers found abnormalities in the hearts of 78% recovered patients and “ongoing myocardial inflammation” in 60%. The same study found high levels of the blood enzyme troponin, an indicator of heart damage, in 76% of patients tested, although heart function appeared to be generally preserved. Most patients in the study had not required hospitalization.

Now to how the brain can suffer.

By Chris Robinson, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of Florida. Originally published at The Conversation

One in three survivors of COVID-19, those more commonly referred to as COVID-19 long-haulers, suffered from neurologic or psychiatric disability six months after infection, a recent landmark study of more than 200,000 post-COVID-19 patients showed.

Researchers looked at 236,379 British patients diagnosed with COVID-19 over six months, analyzing neurologic and psychiatric complications during that time period. They compared those individuals to others who had experienced similar respiratory illnesses that were not COVID-19.

They found a significant increase in several medical conditions among the COVID-19 group, including memory loss, nerve disorders, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and insomnia. Additionally, the symptoms were present among all age groups and in patients who were asymptomatic, isolating in home quarantine, and those admitted to hospitals.

The results of this study speak to the seriousness of long-term consequences of COVID-19 infection. Numerous reports of brain fog, post-traumatic stress disorder, heart disease, lung disease and gastrointestinal disease have peppered the media and puzzled scientists over the past 12 months, begging the question: What effect does COVID-19 have on the body long after the acute symptoms have resolved?

I am an assistant professor of neurology and neurosurgery and can’t help but wonder what we have learned from past experience with other viruses. One thing in particular stands out: COVID-19 consequences will be with us for quite some time.

Learning from History

Past virus outbreaks, such as the 1918 flu pandemic and the SARS epidemic of 2003, have provided examples of the challenges to expect with COVID-19. And, the long-term effects of other viral infections help provide insight.

Several other viruses, including a large majority of those that cause common upper and lower respiratory infections, have been shown to produce such chronic symptoms as anxiety, depression, memory problems and fatigue. Experts believe that these symptoms are likely due to long-term effects on the immune system. Viruses trick the body into producing a persistent inflammatory response resistant to treatment.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, is one such illness. Researchers believe this condition results from continuous activation of the immune system long after the initial infection has resolved.

In contrast to other viral infections, the COVID-19 survivors in the study reported persistent symptoms lasting more than six months, with no significant improvement over time. The abundance of psychiatric symptoms was also notable and likely attributable to both infection and pandemic-related experience.

These findings are leading researchers to hypothesize several mechanisms following acute COVID-19 infection that may lead to long-haul COVID-19. With the known historical context of chronic symptoms following other viruses, doctors and researchers may have a glimpse into the future of COVID-19 with the potential to create therapies to alleviate patients’ persistent symptoms.

When Does COVID-19 Really End?

COVID-19 is now known to be a disease that affects all organ systems, including the brain, lungs, heart, kidneys and intestines.

Several theories exist as to the cause of chronic, lingering symptoms. Hypotheses include direct organ damage from the virus, continual activation of the immune system after acute infection and persistent lasting virus particles that find safe harbor within the body.

To date, autopsy studies have not confirmed the presence or overabundance of COVID-19 particles in the brain, making the immune theories the most likely cause of brain dysfunction.

Some recovered COVID-19 patients detail significant improvement or resolution of long symptoms following inoculation with the COVID-19 vaccine. Others report improvement following a short course of steroids. The most plausible explanation for the direct effects of long COVID-19 on the brain are due to its body-wide connections and the fact that COVID-19 is a multi-organ disease.

These findings may point to a direct immune related cause of long COVID-19, though no real answers yet exist to define the true cause and duration of the disease.

The Post-COVID-19 World

In February, the National Institutes of Health announced a new initiative to study long COVID-19, now collectively defined as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2. The NIH created a fund of US$1.15 billion to study this new disease. The aims of the study include the cause of long-term symptoms, the number of people affected by the disease and vulnerabilities leading to long COVID-19.

In my view, public health officials should continue to be open and transparent when discussing the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19. Society as a whole needs the best information possible to understand its effects and resolve the problem.

COVID-19 remains and will continue to be one of the largest socioeconomic problems across the world as we begin to recognize the true long-term impacts of the disease. Both the scientific and research communities should continue to be diligent in the fight long after the acute infections are gone. It appears that the chronic effects of the disease will be with us for some time to come.

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    I have a regular lunchtime park stroll with a colleague who has long covid. He is a very fit man in his mid-50’s who probably got a high dose of the virus while caring for both his elderly parents. This week he described pretty much everything covered in this article – lung problems appearing 6 months after recovery, general feeling of weakness and listlessness, and a constant brain fog meaning he can’t go back to work for the foreseeable future. Another colleague died in September from a heart attack unexpectedly and we were wondering if that could have been covid related, as its rare for someone with zero history of heart problems to drop dead in that way.

    Whichever way you look at it, covid is most certainly not the flu, it is much, much worse and will have very long term health implications for millions of people. And looking at the latest stories out of Brazil, things may get worse – the new variants seem to attach young people particularly hard. A year now into Covid and multiple countries are still not doing everything they can do to stop the new variants spreading. Its appalling.

    1. Stephen

      Brazil ran out of oxygen in their hospitals so even intubated mechanical ventilators were not being used. Mortality, with or without variants is thus assured. Brazil like the USA, also is not using HBOT despite its use in the Kansas(Spanish) flu of 2018

  2. cocomaan

    When they say “post Covid 2019 patients,” do they mean people who simply tested positive for the virus? Or people that went to their doctor with a complaint?

    Just wondering. Because I can definitely see how someone who is hospitalized will have long term complications, but is this including people who tested positive and never went to the doctor?

    1. Lee

      From the article: “20% of Covid victims, including many who had asymptomatic cases, suffer from long Covid.” So, I guess the answer to your question is, unfortunately, yes.

    2. flora

      Good question. The x:y ratio could be skewed toward higher percentage of longhaul in the infected/recovered cohort if those who had it and recovered without medical care are excluded from the study. (Although, not sure how you’d find a way to include them based on medical records alone.)

    3. Juneau

      Reading the methods section, it seems they pulled data from over 200,000 charts, comparing patients with a diagnosis of Covid on the chart to matched controls with other respiratory viruses. The sample includes inpatients and outpatients. Quote: “Our primary cohort comprised patients who had a COVID-19 diagnosis; one matched control cohort included patients diagnosed with influenza, and the other matched control cohort included patients diagnosed with any respiratory tract infection including influenza in the same period.”

      So the subjects received a clinical diagnosis of Covid, not clear if all were tested.

      1. cocomaan

        Thanks for the replies all.

        Out of the people I know who had covid, 5 people off the top of my head, only one ever went to a doctor and I don’t think anyone else even got tested for it. The one who went to the doctor ended up hospitalized, probably because of previous injuries.

        so this if the study is limited to people who have gone to the doctor, I feel like we’re looking at a particular group.

        1. Juneau

          I think you’re absolutely right. I don’t know how they will study asymptomatic cases without finding a way to do testing on large groups of people (antibody and t cell testing) and then screening for undiagnosed problems (abnormal chest x-rays come to mind). It will take years before that research gets done, there are rightly prioritizing symptomatic people.

          1. Laura in So Cal

            Yup…I know about a dozen people who are pretty sure they had covid during the surge last fall here in California (most presented with the no taste or smell symptom) and none of them went to the doctor and only 1 was tested. The one who was tested was a chiropractor who probably brought it home from work. His wife and 4 kids all got sick with the same symptoms so they didn’t go to the trouble of being tested.

            I have no doubt that this issue exists, but I’m betting the percentages they are using are too high since the baseline number of cases shown in the stats is way understated.

        2. Nce

          I think I had Covid a year ago when I was finishing a graduate degree. I was told by a university nurse that the hospital would not test or see me unless I needed to be admitted. My longtime home is at high altitude (7,500′) and now I can’t exercise without severe shortness of breath. There’s brain fog, too- when I read my pro paper I wonder why I was able to graduate, my writing was so awful. I really struggled to finish it, so all’s well that ends somewhat well, I guess. Still, I should probably move to a lower altitude town rather than feeling bad every day.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        People who are diagnosed with Covid almost certainly were tested. If you read articles on long Covid, one frustration some patients report is not being taken seriously by MDs because the MD does not think they had Covid. That could easily be resolved by an antibody (not antigen or PCR tests, which are for live infections) but I suspect most insurance won’t pay for that.

  3. rick shapiro

    Don’t forget the epidemic brain disfunction associated with COVID MAGA vaccine refusal.

      1. rick shapiro

        He’s a demogogic bullshitter (re. brexit), but he’s right about that in the specific timeframe in the UK before vaccination was sufficiently widespread.

  4. Beneath

    I had a presumed case of Covid a year ago. I’ve suffered from long-haul symptoms since then and had to take three months of medial leave from work. I am a 41-year old woman, no pre-existing medical conditions. Prior to my illness: I rarely got sick and hadn’t had need to see a doctor for anything besides wellness check-ups in seven years. I went on an 11-mile hike every week, walked 5 miles on average a day, ran and did yoga weekly and ate a whole foods diet. In 2019, I went on an almost 600 mile long-distance hike with a 20 lb pack, walking up to 22 miles daily. Fast forward to a year later, in summer 2020: There were some days I was experiencing such intense chest tension/tightness/pain and fatigue I was anxious about even slowly walking 10 minutes around my block. I was worried I might be disabled. The difference was stark. Luckily, I’ve improved some since then, but am still dealing with some physical limitations, and can’t hike or run or walk too much.

    I am critical in many ways of narratives pushed by mainstream media (including coverage of Covid) and the pharmaceutical industry and I think our society should emphasize preventative health way more than it does. However, I’m tired of many commenters in “alternative” sites I visit still expressing the myth that Covid is no worse than the flu, that if you’re a healthy individual there is nothing to worry about. I’ve communicated with hundreds of other long-haulers who are young, were previously healthy and physically active (some who were marathon runners prior).

    1. jhallc

      Don’t assume the symptoms are covid related. I too had a similar situation two years back. I was a regular at the gym, hiking, eating well. My BMI was 21-22. I went spring downhill skiing in Maine at the end of March and had to stop numerous times down the mountain to catch my breath. Not long after that, just short walks caused tightness/pain in the chest and dizzyness. By May, I failed a cardio stress test and was diagnosed with 90% blockage in one artery. Stent implanted and I’m back to normal more or less. The symptoms came on quickly. If you haven’t yet, get it checked out.

      1. Beneath

        In mid-March a year ago I had prolonged close contact with someone who I later learned was Covid-positive at the time. And that’s when all my issues began. I am very sure I had Covid. I have seen a number of specialists, including a pulmonologist and two cardiologists. I had all the typical pulmonary and cardio tests, including the stress tests. I’m glad you found diagnosis and treatment for your issues.

        1. LSC

          Did you get a definitive diagnoses of Cov19? If not, you could get checked for antibodies to know for sure. “I am very sure I had covid” is not a definitive diagnoses… What if you did not have it ?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I agree getting a diagnosis is important. However, a terrible disincentive is that the MD would need to code the test request properly to get the cost reimbursed. Even in states like NY which require that Covid testing be free, that applies only to determining if you now have Covid, meaning the PCR or antigen tests.

  5. Mikel

    I can’t tell if having Covid was the only correlation they looked at when doing the study of long-haulers.

    That Covid can induce severe pneumonia, should have had people worried enough. (Go take a look at some of the possible long term effects of pneumonia…and yikes. My godsister said she had Covid pneumonia and her allergies are worse).

    But Covid won’t be the only very serious illness around. But it’s getting the attention and subsidies.
    There will also have to be much more intense study and investigation to also maje sure that Covid isn’t made the scapegoat for illnesses that may actually be caused by other drugs or diseases.

  6. Susan the other

    This isn’t surprising and the fact that it is being looked at is very encouraging. Maybe an all new branch of medicine? Long Medicine. Viruses are an integral part of our evolution. Who knows, they probably brought us symbolic thinking; jewelry, large bows on goofy hats, posturing around in feathers and christmas bells… Nobody knows how their own brain even works. This is gonna be very interesting. Just exactly what is humor, why do we like a good joke – how do we even recognize one? It’s all so meta. Just to encourage everyone who might be suffering long Covid, I’d like to tell you that it isn’t the end of the world. I got a chronic condition after chicken pox at the age of 35 – because of secondary encephalitis. It takes a while to get your energy back – I never ran 15 miles again, but I did regularly do 2 or 3. And after a few years my thinking was surprisingly clear. Be a health food nut. My advice is just listen to your body and do what makes you comfortable. Always. Trust yourself because when the doctors tell you it’s all in your head… they’ll be partly right.

  7. Will S.

    It’s been about six months since I “recovered” from COVID and I still experience memory problems (mostly trouble recalling words and names, when I used to be excellent with names in particular), an occasional and novel stutter, and near-constant, overwhelming fatigue. I’m scheduled for my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Sunday; I’m crossing my fingers that the second dose will ameliorate/eliminate these symptoms as I’ve heard many anecdotes of it doing so. I work in a grocery store, and five of my coworkers contracted the virus over the past year: all but one of them still experience fatigue, and a couple have other persistent symptoms as well. The focus on mortality perturbs me because so many people still treat it like, “either your die or you’re fine.” I had a mild case requiring no hospitalization and it debilitated my health, and my “long haul” experience is still only moderate compared to some stories I’ve heard. I struggle to see how things can return to normal if we have a yearly “covid season” which continues to produce these sorts of effects on those who contract the virus.

    1. Philo Beddoh

      We’d had D.614 just over a year ago. An IgG, spike protein, etc, immunoassay and inflammatory side effects (worse than experienced during infection) has me delaying my 2nd Moderna, pending their “targeted booster” while my partner had her 2nd shot. We’re in our late 60s and were very lucky with mild, if SCARY symptoms, well nourished & lucky to not be working through our infection. The pro-inflammatory cytokine tour of lungs, brain, heart, intestines & kidneys only hit after day 14 and subsequent blood tests & imaging had been cursory, to the extent I’d not wanted to chance any more auto-immune type damage? We’re amidst any number of clinicians who’d experienced much the same, if they’d been in NYC, last spring. So, if we’re ~90% immune for 6mo, & Moderna’s booster comes out this summer. Guess, we’ll just stay masked, maybe side-shields in conveyances & avoid loud, drunked-up mouth-breathers & choirs? We’d a difficult time discerning side-effects from long COVID, but some mitigation of NO/NOOO cycle symptoms was apparent?

    2. flora

      Yes, C19 infection long haul is a real, post viral infection phenomon. Some C19 post viral infection effects are worse than others, depending on no-one-knows-what at the moment. Finding out what makes that difference, who is most affected and why and who is not affected and why, and how to ameliorate the worst symptoms is very important, imo.

      Here, for example, is one simple question: is the C19 post viral set/cluster of symptoms in any way related to the mechanisms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) now thought to possibly be a post viral infection syndrome? ( CFS was also for many years dismissed as either unreal or as nothing serious.) I have no idea, absolutely none. But it’s an important question, and needs serious investigation.

    3. Synoia

      mostly trouble recalling words and names

      So do I, pre Covid, and it is getting worse, but I don’t think I’v had Covid, I put it down to my age (72).

      My maternal family has a History of Alzheimers.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Oh, keeping my fingers crossed.

        You are probably up on all the theories re possible preventatives. One that stuck with me was five cups of coffee a day.

      2. kareninca

        About two years ago I gave up my evening 4 oz. of red wine for spiritual reasons. I did that for about three months. Then I had my bloodwork done and it was a lot worse (my memory was unchanged). My MD told me to go back to the wine.

        Then, more recently, I had to not drink for three weeks before a cosmetic procedure (not surgery, but still requiring abstinence). My memory improved IMMENSELY. I was confused. Why should giving up wine help, when it hadn’t before? I then realized that to solace myself for the lack of wine, I had been drinking concord grape juice every night (organic, from Trader Joe’s; 1.5 cups).

        I then googled “grape juice memory.” Sure enough, there is a study. But more to the point, it has had a huge effect on me. I can now remember all sorts of things I couldn’t before; the names of high school teachers; the names of WWII battles, and so on. I have always had a horrible memory. Now I have an adequate memory. And yes, I also have the 4 oz. of red wine nightly. Please, please, unless you have some medical reason that prohibits, try concord grape juice for a few weeks.

  8. antidlc

    Thank you for all of this info, Yves.

    We are running this post because Covid brain impairment is an important topic in its own right, and also to counter the dangerous patter we keep encountering in comments about how Covid is overblown because not all that many people die of it.

    I don’t know if it will do any good, but I can pass this along to family members who think Covid is “overblown”.

    “If it were that bad, people who work at Target, Walmart, and grocery stores would be dropping like flies.”
    -quote from family member.

  9. Judith

    I wonder if ivermectin might be effective in preventing or reducing the severity of long covid?

    1. Philo Beddoh

      Notice, how two other experimental immuno-modulating treatments: fluvoxamine & prozac; along with Nicotinamide riboside L-serine, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), and L-carnitine tartrate., Quercetin/ D3/ zinc… and the whole panoply of iso-flavonoid phyto-polyphenol dietary supplements have been ignored, as well? We’d supplimented with several, in addition to nitric oxide precursors, but be CAREFUL!

  10. semiconscious

    and then there’s ‘long lockdown’:

    What we call brain fog, Catherine Loveday, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Westminster, calls poor “cognitive function”. That covers “everything from our memory, our attention and our ability to problem-solve to our capacity to be creative. Essentially, it’s thinking.” And recently, she’s heard a lot of complaints about it: “Because I’m a memory scientist, so many people are telling me their memory is really poor, and reporting this cognitive fog,” she says. She knows of only two studies exploring the phenomenon as it relates to lockdown (as opposed to what some people report as a symptom of Covid-19, or long Covid): one from Italy, in which participants subjectively reported these sorts of problems with attention, time perception and organisation; another in Scotland which objectively measured participants’ cognitive function across a range of tasks at particular times during the first lockdown and into the summer. Results showed that people performed worse when lockdown started, but improved as restrictions loosened, with those who continued shielding improving more slowly than those who went out more.

    It’s likely that in a year or two, we’ll look back on some event this year and say, when on earth did that happen?

    Loveday and Simons are not surprised. Given the isolation and stasis we have had to endure until very recently, these complaints are exactly what they expected – and they provide the opportunity to test their theories as to why such brain fog might come about. There is no one explanation, no single source, Simons says: “There are bound to be a lot of different factors that are coming together, interacting with each other, to cause these memory impairments, attentional deficits and other processing difficulties.”

    1. flora

      Thanks for this link. My daily conversations are now so limited compared to 2019. , Zoom work conference calls once or twice a day with co-workers focused on a single topic just aren’t the equivalent of wide ranging conversations over multiple topics with a wide range of people both at work and outside of work. For lock down isolates who don’t have even that topically confined social interaction the results must be even more pronounced.

    2. wadge22

      Thank you very much for that. I think that’s a significant issue in all this.

      You get a fog, and you get a fog…

      It will be hard or impossible to control-group out the impact of prolonged semi-lockdown, pandemic induced fear, and broad social upheaval, from the impact of an illness that affects people so disparately, including the uncounted unknowing hosts.

      Why, it’s even confounding to a study with a sample size of one. I have had covid. I recovered fully, I believe. I still feel like trash. I’m a real dummy, takes me forever to think things through and sometimes I’m not word good and I ramble too as well.
      But a lot of that was kinda true before. Plus I’ve been cooped up isolated in my 675sqft little crap shack house for 3+ years (me and my girlfriend started way early, covid was just phase 2 or 3 of isolation for us).
      And I’m increasingly depressed over my job that I hate (myself over) but feel stuck with (gold handcuffs that are really just gold plated potmetal…).
      The bitterness about my bosses getting close to a million in free cash from the govt this past year while refusing raises and firing dummies over petty nonsense, it’s so thick it has a taste I can identify. The taste is near constant, or at least present for hours on end daily. Acid Refluckthischit. Even if it gets better in time, I know it will occasionally come back to me for the rest of my life, like the taste of scotch or of margarita sometimes still does (I used to drink…). And I know how ugly that would be seeing it in another person, so that’s not cool to know about myself, either. Hey, was that caused by the virus?
      Yeah, I’m foggier. I’ve unintentionally lost almost 30lbs (see depressed). I’ve fainted for the first 4 times in my life since I had it. I’m more skeptical and cranky and lazy than I’ve ever been before, which says an awful lot.

      But how do I know any of it’s (biologically) because of the virus, which honestly seemed pretty mild for me?

      And/or the virus has clearly affected us all (regardless of infection status) to some degree or another already and will continue to do so outside of our control, for some period of time. Doctors will only see a small part of the picture in their microscope reticle.

      1. wadge22

        PeeEssing that I do NOT doubt that LC is a genuine biological thing. I just doubt that the occurrence is (likely even nearly) as high as the high estimates.

  11. Aomoa

    Those who experienced COVID-19 symptoms have shown a severe chest X-ray every single time, Bankhead-Kendall told Nielsen, while asymptomatic patients showed severe chest X-rays 70 to 80 percent of the time.

    I’ve heard statements like this for some time, and they kind of make me scratch my head. I may be missing something, but it doesn’t make sense that someone could show X-ray evidence of “severe” fibroids/inflammation/damage to their lungs and experience no symptoms. Like, how does that work exactly? I’m not saying it’s wrong, but it’s just been a nagging question I’ve had for some time time now.

    1. TroyIA

      I don’t have any answers either but last year a popular theory was that Covid-19 should be thought of as a vasculotropic virus, meaning that it affects the blood vessels. If I remember correctly there was a study that showed that most of the damage in the lungs followed the path of the blood vessels rather than the alveoli like a typical pneumonia would.

      So if Covid-19 is a blood illness then some people won’t have symptoms like phlegm production and sinus inflammation. Rather they could have silent symptoms similar to taking an excess amount of ACE inhibitor drugs. That’s one idea anyway.

  12. Tj

    LC here. Acute phase March 2020. Main issues were SOB and irregular spiking pulse with palpitations. Main LC issues are lingering SOB, exercise intolerance, fatigue, and joint/muscle pain/stiffness. Part of the joint/muscle issues may be inability to maintain workout regimen. Fatigue seems to be exercise induced. SOB has improved recently after vaccines and new diaphragmatic breathing exercises. Last year I thought I would recover 100% eventually. Not as confident now. I feel it has aged me prematurely and I will not get back to pre-Covid baseline. Hope I’m wrong.

  13. GF

    My nephew, who is in one of the military elite special forces groups that require one to be in exceptional physical condition, contracted the virus in Dec 2019, before much was known about it or how to treat it. He went to military doctors. He contracted a sever case of diabetes (another known virus outcome), lost 50 lbs, suffers from the diabetes side effects and must take multiple medications just to function. He has been assigned a desk job and is slowly recovering from the virus effects listed above while dealing with diabetes. He passed the virus to his wife and 2 kids, one of whom developed a heart condition.

    Without coming right out and saying it in the article, this article is the best argument, along with Yves’s additional information, for getting vaccinated I have come across. Ironically my wife and I were scheduled to get the J&J shot April 13 and had our appointments cancelled a couple hours before our scheduled appointment time. In the meantime while we wait for our next chance to get a shot, we will be extremely careful when out-and-about.

    1. newcatty

      I read a commenter who mentioned that someone was given Pzier vaccine due to it being recommendation for people with underlying conditions. Does anyone have any information about why Pzier would be the preferred vaccine in these cases? Also, any information about any research or data on whether the medical community has discovered that one vaccine is a better choice for individuals. Realize this whole pandemic is “new” in its appearance in the world, but now for some people it would be helpful for some medical advice on his point. Yes, all this in the light of J&J “pause”.

  14. Doug

    A doctor I know who has treated HIV/AIDS patients for decades told me it reminded him of airborn AIDS.

  15. Pelham

    Thank you so much for highlighting Long Covid, which we should perhaps think about relabeling Permanent Disabling Covid.

    The fact that this doesn’t get enormous attention in mainstream media amounts to journalistic malpractice.

  16. Larry Y

    like anything else, listen to the frontline people.

    For COVID-19, it would be pulmonologists (not to mention funeral workers…). In particular, talking to physical therapists helping people recover has been eye-opening.

  17. skippy

    As a kid that grew up with chronic bronchitis and had two bouts of double pneumonia [13&20 years old] I can attest to the whole medical and psychological ramifications of the experience E.g. “too breath is to live” and there are some hard psychological tripwires associated with the experiences E.g. feed back loops.

    Never the less I somehow manged to be a good runner and post the last episode, in the military, I could run 2 miles under 10 minutes and not on a pretty track.

    So the anecdotal thing is the whole linear aspect of life might have some bumps, but don’t get too wobbly, because in fact most can move on after a bit …. then you can experience more neoliberalism … lmmao …

  18. Jackalope

    I had covid in Sept as part of a super spreader group of 40 people all in the 50-70 year old range. As an arm chair observer of my group, I can report that one person died – an over 70 stage 4 cancer female. Three spent time in the hospital with pneumonia of various degrees, none vented, all released after about a week. The remaining had group had the assorted classic covid symptoms, primarily fever, headache, lethargy, loss of taste/smell and cough. My symptoms included gastrointestinal issues which seems less common. I feel disappointed with the reporting of immunity via recovery. In my little group observation, long covid is more annoying than disabling. Personally, my gastric issues impaired the absorption of my thyroid medication for a while causing my numbers to rise. When things finally settled, medicine worked again and all is well. My opinion is that most cases of brain fog are the result of too much isolation and too much loafing during lockdown.

  19. Scott1

    We endure more adversity when we share the experience with our tribe. As we are allowed to engage more with more people, either prior friends and family or almost especially strangers we will begin to heal more from that interaction on its own and the methods of others who went to the doctors and can share care sought and applied others may try.
    The emphasis on our social being constitutions includes simply sharing physical spaces. There is a lot to be said for parallel play. During school yard games people often hurt me. I began to avoid games that put me within others reach. I’ve been attacked from behind. I used to enjoy shooting the breeze while having beers at the bar.
    Would that such like that would be all needed.

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