Will “Living With Covid”™ Even Be Possible? (Because What About the Brain Fog?)

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Fortunately, I don’t have long Covid (and the anecdotes below make it clear that I would know if I had it). I don’t have it yet, I suppose. First, I’ll give a quick overview of what Long Covid is (not so easy to answer). I’ll look at the methodological problems in moving from symptoms to diagnosis, how long it lasts, and its prevalence. Next, I’ll zero in on one symptom universally acknowledged to be a symptom of Long Covid — “Brain Fog.” I’ll conclude by musing on one of the societal implications of large numbers of brain-damaged people in our population. Also, readers, if any of you have Long Covid, I and I am sure other readers would like to hear about it. Naturally, I welcome corrections and amplifications from our Brain Trust of Covid experts!

What is Long Covid?

The question “What Is Long Covid?” is not so easy to answer. (“Long” seems to be a median of 15 months. That’s long.) For one thing, we haven’t agreed on a name. From the CDC:

People call post-COVID conditions by many names, including: long COVID, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, post-acute sequelae of SARS CoV-2 infection (PASC), long-term effects of COVID, and chronic COVID.

(Long Covid, like Lyme Disease, has gathered around itself a community of activists and advocates; they seem to prefer “Long Covid,” so Long Covid it is.)

Nor is getting a diagnosis so easy, for cultural reasons within the medical community. From the Yale School of Medicine:

Millions of those who have recovered from COVID-19 are now experiencing a long string of often debilitating symptoms that persist weeks, months, or even two years or more following the original infection. As these long-haulers, most of whom are women, seek answers for their devastating and mysterious condition, many are also facing dismissal by their health care providers.

“It took a long time for medical researchers to recognize that this was a real disease,” [Yale researchers Akiko Iwasaki] says. “In the early days of the pandemic, women—as well as some men—were pretty much dismissed by their physicians, and some believed that it was all psychosomatic. And there are still physicians who believe this.”

But that doesn’t mean diagnosis would be easy, even for a non-dismissive physician. Politico:

There is no test for long Covid, and the CDC and the medical community have no official definition. But health care workers across the country are diagnosing patients who have previously contracted Covid-19 based on a wide-ranging set of symptoms that often include fatigue, shortness of breath and brain fog.

One approach to developing a symptoms checklist would be to ask Long Covid sufferers themselves. From the Lancet:

We conducted an online survey of people with suspected and confirmed COVID-19, distributed via COVID-19 support groups (e.g. Body Politic, Long COVID Support Group, Long Haul COVID Fighters) and social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook).

The most frequent symptoms after month 6 were fatigue, post-exertional malaise, and cognitive dysfunction. Symptoms varied in their prevalence over time, and we identified three symptom clusters, each with a characteristic temporal profile. 85.9% of participants (95% CI, 84.8% to 87.0%) experienced relapses, primarily triggered by exercise, physical or mental activity, and stress. 86.7% (85.6% to 92.5%) of unrecovered respondents were experiencing fatigue at the time of survey, compared to 44.7% (38.5% to 50.5%) of recovered respondents. 1700 respondents (45.2%) required a reduced work schedule compared to pre-illness, and an additional 839 (22.3%) were not working at the time of survey due to illness. Cognitive dysfunction or memory issues were common across all age groups (~88%). Except for loss of smell and taste, the prevalence and trajectory of all symptoms were similar between groups with confirmed and suspected COVID-19.

Despite the methodological issues, there have been several estimates of Long Covid prevalence; they are all two-digit percentages, so we can be confident that there is rather a lot of it about. In no particular order:

JAMA: 10–30% (of people who caught Covid).

If COVID-19 moves toward endemicity, then it should not disrupt everyday life. However, with ongoing transmission and with an estimated 10% to 30% of individuals experiencing long COVID symptoms after infection, this issue will require careful attention to further define the syndrome and possible intervention.

CDC: 20%[1].

COVID-19 survivors have twice the risk for developing pulmonary embolism or respiratory conditions; one in five COVID-19 survivors aged 18–64 years and one in four survivors aged ≥65 years experienced at least one incident condition that might be attributable to previous COVID-19.

WHO: 10%-20%.

Most people who develop COVID-19 fully recover, but current evidence suggests approximately 10%-20% of people experience a variety of mid- and long-term effects after they recover from their initial illness. These mid- and long-term effects are collectively known as post COVID-19 condition or “long COVID.”

Visser, et al. : 36-53% (aggregating several studies[2).

Approximately of COVID-19 patients develop long-lasting, chronic complaints, a condition known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) or ‘long COVID’ (1-4).

What Is “Brain Fog”?

Let us now turn to one symptom prominently mentioned by Long Covid sufferers: “Brain Fog.” Let me begin with some tweets[3]:

“Feel like death”:

“Like I was operating in a language I didn’t speak”:

“Y’all know them too”:

“Bro covid brain fog is legit”:

Something more scholarly from the British Medical Journal, “‘I can’t cope with multiple inputs’: a qualitative study of the lived experience of ‘brain fog’ after COVID-19“[4]:

Of the 50 participants, 42 were female and 32 white British. Most had never been hospitalised for COVID-19. Qualitative analysis revealed the following themes: mixed views on the appropriateness of the term ‘brain fog’; rich descriptions of the experience of neurocognitive symptoms (especially executive function, attention, memory and language), accounts of how the illness fluctuated—and progressed over time; the profound psychosocial impact of the condition on relationships, personal and professional identity; self-perceptions of guilt, shame and stigma; strategies used for self-management; challenges accessing and navigating the healthcare system; and participants’ search for physical mechanisms to explain their symptoms.

Perhaps another term would be more appropriate:

After mentally substituting “brain damage” for “brain fog,” we will turn to our conclusion.[5]

Speculative Conclusion

Let’s have a little fun with arithmetic. Suppose we assume that “everyone will get Covid” (since, after all, the Biden administration and the public health establishment are doing their very best to give to everybody, and reinfect those who have gotten it already). Let’s also assume that 20% of those who catch Covid get Long Covid (I’m picking the CDC’s estimate not because it’s the CDC’s, but because it’s in the middle of the range of estimates). Obviously, this would have enormous effects on the general population, but since our health care system exists to deny people care, it’s hard to predict precisely what the effects would be. Let’s look at a more tractable problem: What happens when 20% of the ruling class loses substantial cognitive function?

As we know from the Gridiron Club superspreader debacle and Ron Klain’s interview with David Rubenstein, elites hate masks, ignore ventilation, and believe that vaccines and treatments will protect them (note that even a mild case of Covid can give you Long Covid). Let’s take a similar case to the Gridiron Club, and imagine that it, too, was a (richly deseved) superspreader event: The Bilderbergers, who recently graced Washington, DC with their secretive presence. There were 119 attendees in all; 20% of 119 is 24. I randomly sorted the list of 119 (sort -R). Here are the top 24 from that list (resorted alphabetically). I’ve added some bold-faced names like Page Six of the New York Post:

Adeyemo, Adewale (USA), Deputy Secretary, Department of The Treasury
Baker, James H. (USA), Director, Office of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense
Baudson, Valérie (FRA), CEO, Amundi
Campbell, Kurt (USA), White House Coordinator for Indo-Pacific, NSC
Donohoe, Paschal (IRL), Minister for Finance; President, Eurogroup
Döpfner, Mathias (DEU), Chairman and CEO, Axel Springer SE
Freeland, Chrystia (CAN), Cabinet Office
Henry, Mary Kay (USA), International President, Service Employees International Union
Karp, Alex (USA), CEO, Palantir Technologies Inc.
Kissinger, Henry A. (USA), Chairman, Kissinger Associates Inc.
Minton Beddoes, Zanny (GBR), Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
Rachman, Gideon (GBR), Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, The Financial Times
Reynders, Didier (INT), European Commissioner for Justice
Rutte, Mark (NLD), Prime Minister
Salvi, Diogo (PRT), Co-Founder and CEO, TIMWE
Schinas, Margaritis (INT), Vice President, European Commission
Schmidt, Eric E. (USA), Former CEO and Chairman, Google LLC
Stelzenmüller, Constanze (DEU), Fritz Stern Chair, The Brookings Institution
Straeten, Tinne Van der (BEL), Minister for Energy
Tellis, Ashley J. (USA), Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs, Carnegie Endowment
Thiel, Peter (USA), President, Thiel Capital LLC
Wallander, Celeste (USA), Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
Wennink, Peter (NLD), President and CEO, ASML Holding NV

All of the Bilderbergers are movers and shakers, of course. And now 20% of the Bilderbergers, in our speculation, have brain damage. (What a shame about Chrystia Freeland. I hope she doesn’t suffer too much.) But what would the effect on them be? I imagine they would remain in power, exactly like Diane Feinstein, but more dangerous: These are all executives, but with brain-damaged executive functions. But who would tell them? They’re surrounded by sycophants. Their staffs would be unlikely to unpunch their meal tickets. The press would be more likely to conceal than reveal. But what if the same percentages were applied to all of our elites, not just the Bilderbergers?

The Twentieth Century’s Great American Novelist, Philip K. Dick, wrote a book with an eerily similar premise: Our Friends From Frolix Eight (1970). [6]. Here is the publisher description:

“The world is run by an elite few, brains determining whether or not they are super-smart New Men, Unusuals with various psychic powers, or Undermen, performing menial jobs in an overpopulated world. Nick Appleton is an Underman, content to eke out an existence as a tire regroover. But after his son is classified an an Underman, Appleton begins to question the hierarchy. Strengthening his resolve, and energizing the resistance movement, is news that the great resistance leader Thors Provoni is returning from a trip to the farthest reaches of space. And he’s brought help: a giant, indestructible alien.”

Sound familiar? (All the New Men have giant heads, because they have giant brains.) Spoiler alert: The giant, indestructible alien, using its alien powers, damages the brains of all the New Men and the Unusuals world-wide with surgical precision, but none of the Underman. Here, the hero, Nick Appleton, encounters his first example of their work; a New Man, Mr. Marshall, along with his friend, Ed Woodman:

So for us Undermen, Long Covid would be the equivalent of Dick’s giant, indestructible alien. All of which would be fine, I suppose, unless the elite equivalent of Mr. Marshall’s “electric mixer” were the atomic button, or decisions on surveillance software by Alex Karp, or Ukraine policy by Chrystia Freedland, or money for Clinton 2024 from Eric Schmidt, or blood bags by Peter Thiel. A sociopathic elite is one thing, that we’re used to; but a sociopathic elite with brain damage is quite another.


[1] Here is a critique of the CDC study:

[2] Here are notes 1-4 from Visser et al.:

1. Choutka J, Jansari V, Hornig M, Iwasaki A. Unexplained post-acute infection syndromes. Nature Medicine. 2022;28(5):911–23.Google Scholar
2. Michelen M, Cheng V, Manoharan L, Elkheir N, Dagens D, Hastie C, et al. Characterising long term Covid-19: a living systematic review. BMJ Global Health. 2021;6.Google Scholar
3. Puntmann V, Carerj M, Wieters I. Outcomes of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients Recently Recovered From Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)(vol 5, pg 1265, 2020). Jama Cardiology. 2020:1308-.Google Scholar
4. Carfí A, Bernabei R, Landi F. Persistent symptoms in patients after acute COVID-19. Jama. 2020;324(6):603–5. CrossRef PubMed Google Scholar

[3] I know that the Twitter is nothing like a scientific survey. However, anecdotes from Twitter gave a far more accurate picture of the current surge than the press, or most of the experts, let alone the sociopathic morons who proclaimed that “Covid is over.”

[4] The BMJ Abstract concludes with this equivalent of CDC’s horrid “consult your personal physician”: “Services for such patients should include: an ongoing therapeutic relationship with a clinician who engages with their experience of neurocognitive symptoms in its personal, social and occupational context as well as specialist services that include provision for neurocognitive symptoms, are accessible, easily navigable, comprehensive and interdisciplinary.” Of course, this is the BMJ, so with the NHS, you may be able to get such services, even today. In the US, this recommendation would be flat-out ridiculous.

[5] There is no definitive mechanism for long Covid. Two intriguing proposals are SARS-CoV-2 viruses living in the gut, and neuroinflammation.

[6] Incredibly, in a good way, the Internet Archive actually has an online library, where you can check out and return books electronically, for free. Much, much better than Google books, though I don’t know how many books they have.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Samuel Conner

    THank you, Lambert.

    I’m not looking forward to “living with those who want to ‘live with COVID’ ”

    I will attempt to circulate this to the many people in my ‘keep at arms length or further’ relational network who seem to think that we are past the pandemic.

    1. Craig

      In my experience, it won’t help. My twins have long covid after never testing positive with 2 PCR tests each. It’s destroyed their junior year in high school. They went from straight As, top participants in their extra curriculars, and 1 with a job he wanted badly to stay at home and failing grades. Who would choose that? The amount of money, time, doctors since last year has been incredible.

      Yet they and I are blamed for sandbagging, just being lazy, etc. It’s way easier than acknowledging we have a real problem.

  2. Boomheist

    This is one of those articles you should paste to your wall, with the date, because it is easy to see, some years in the future, when all this comes home to roost, that in fact the biggest covid impact was not the quick deaths but the destruction of brains…..

    1. Jason Boxman

      This is what keeps me up at night (amongst other things) since probably April 2020 when it first came up probably at NC. And the implications get worse all the time, particularly the lackadaisical attitude by our elite.

  3. super extra

    I had covid during the first big omicron wave in early December 2021 and the “actively sick” phase felt like a bad head cold combined with allergies that persisted 11ish days, then subsided. The brain fog was a distinct effect, it came on during the actively sick phase and persisted for another few weeks after I had supposedly recovered. I felt like I was still 20% sick or so from then and for the next month, until I had the worst headache of my life (not a migraine – like intracranial pressure) that lasted 4 days. After the headache broke, the brain fog receded. I spent another couple months feeling tired and run down. So 3.5ish months sick total from “mild” omicron. I don’t think I have long covid, other than my brush with covid took longer than supposedly average to clear.

    I have an act II backstory here though – in 2011 I nearly died from a gastroenteric virus or bacteria of unknown origin after getting sick during a long trip to Ghana for a family wedding. Initial illness not so bad, initial treatment in the states wasn’t powerful enough, progressed to acute pneumonia. Following THAT, I had a very defined post-acute syndrome of some kind that sounds a lot like what the severe long covid sufferers are reporting: extreme extertional fatigue, neuroinflammation-type issues, and (the worst honestly) painful muscles and muscle cramps, so severe there were days when I couldn’t leave the bed. It was so bad I had to change careers and move to remote work years before the pandemic. What is fascinating is the prior post acute thing I had seems to have receded following covid. I am not a biologist so I can’t explain why or how, but I’ll take it.

    Something that has genuinely helped since I had covid has been daily benadryl. I take it before bed. For a while I tried to do melatonin but it didn’t work as well. I don’t know if it’s the effect on my sleeping patterns or an anti-allergenic effect that is helpful, but if I don’t take it I am noticeably grumpier and physically feel ‘bad’. Maybe it helps with the neuroinflammation?

    1. steve

      Hello. You may have already heard of this or don’t like advice from strangers, but I would try a regimen of a different allergy med (like Claritin or something). Benadryl long term can have a higher risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s later on in life

      just something to consider

    2. Captain Planet

      Most people don’t realize that any acute illness can cause long-term/permanent effects. I know someone who’s been completely bedridden for 15 years after getting food poisoning at age 23.

      1. playon

        I know someone whose nervous system was permanently damaged from eating a bad nut. Look at them before popping one into your mouth…

        My wife and I both got COVID in April of this year. Her case was very mild, I was pretty sick for a week or so then gradually improved. But, almost 8 weeks later we both feel fatigued, normal things such as gardening, walking uphill etc require more effort, and at least for me, vigorous aerobic exercise is out of the question — such as riding a bicycle, hiking etc. I have no wind. The brain fog is real but varies from day to day. We have no idea how long this will last but at least we are retired and don’t have to work everyday. We are both 70. The only thing that really seems to help is rest.

        1. playon

          I should add that both of us are feeling more joint and muscle pain than previously. Altogether it’s not fun…

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Concur with the praise above. It’s an article everyone in the country should read, even if only for self-protection.

    And this is the sort of article that makes an accelerationist smile. Twisted, just twisted.

    As for this question:

    Who will fly planes & do surgery if we let this go on indefinitely?

    I think the answer is that there won’t be planes and surgery performed in a “theatre.”

    1. GF

      I heard on NPR this morning that a replica Mayflower just crossed the Atlantic completely using AI with no people on board. There was a issue when it tried to dock using AI but it wasn’t explained thoroughly. So, it appears, the use of robots will be fast tracked to make up for lost pilots and doctors.

      1. Adam Eran

        Marshall McLuhan’s metaphor for technology (media) includes the observation that some, in effect, disables the people using it. He’d say a car effectively amputates your legs. A computer amputates your brain. Imagine what AI amputates…!

        My personal conclusion about McLuhan: he says we make our tools, then our tools make us.

  5. scarnoc

    >The Twentieth Century’s Great American Novelist, Philip K. Dick
    A correct description.

    I caught Delta in Aug 2021. I have experienced utterly random bouts of shortness of breath ever since. They are not connected to exercise or exertion. I am a fairly active person. The short breath will come on while working on a computer or even lying in bed just as often as it does during or after exercise. My doctor has no answers. It’s quite annoying, and I hope it eventually goes away.

    My younger sister, who is in her early twenties, lost her sense of taste for fifteen months. She could eat an onion like an apple at her most senseless point.

    1. Objective Ace

      > I have experienced utterly random bouts of shortness of breath ever since

      Some of the Covid doctor’s running in the FLCCC circles say this is a neurological long-Covid conditon. Your lungs are fine — but your brain is having trouble sending signals to them, hence they arent firing as they are otherwise completely capable of doing. Its worth trying the FLCCC long haul protocol if you arent already

      1. ilpalazzo

        I have come to suspect something of this sort. I have made an observation last few days supporting it.

        I had an acute Covid at the end of April last year. It lasted exactly a week and it was the worst head cold I ever had. I recovered fairly quickly except fatigue, shortness of breath and a slight tinnitus.

        I’ve been doing a bicycle round most days as an exercise for a few years. Since Covid I had been gasping for breath where before I would go with a relative ease. I also noticed that the feeling was much worse if I had a hangover.

        Last December I started supplementing Vit D3, K, C, and Zinc. After about a month I noticed a big improvement with breathing on the bike, like I was almost back to normal.

        Now a couple of weeks ago I dropped supplements on the occasion of a more varied diet with fresh veggies coming from the garden but the symptoms returned after a week or so, I again started to breathe heavily on the bike and the fatigue in the afternoons came back too. Also my tinnitus got worse, I started to feel a bit of a pain deep in my ears. I went back to supplements and got better after a few days.

        1. Alena Shahadat

          Hello, I have an equally positive experience with vit. D3+K (they come in one tiny tablet here) and zink. I learned about them here at NC. The problem I have has started in October 2020 when I caught probably the British version of Covid with vaccines long time away in the future. I was laying in the bed with pain in all the muscles AND I couldn’t get up or bend over. It felt genuinely as a mild case of tetanus. This pain and muscle fatigue stayed with me until in 2021 I figured it was worth to try the “5 Tibetans” exercise. So I could at least bend to brush my teeth and put on my shoes. Then in summer 21 I managed to get a shot of Moderna (I had hard time to get the appointment somehow). Now I’ve had a total of three shots after which the muscle pain had each time disappeared for two months and then gradually came back, or sometimes suddenly. As when I sit working on a computer, then I can’t get up and the crippling bout stays three or five days. As I can’t keep getting shots (we still don’t know what it does to the body) I have been taking D3+k and zink every day for two months now and with the excercise I start feeling more like my old self. (Thanks NC!)

          Omicron, I got it in february 2022, a month after the third dose of Moderna. I felt like a zombie for two weeks, with faintings, two weeks of sustained headache, red strips all over my body and a week-long eye inflammation. It was so bad that I wanted to go home while laying on the couch in my own living-room. It was like living in a different reality and watching a video, sometimes I had to check I was still breathing. LOL So much for “naturally” acquired immunity or vaccines…

        2. Charger01

          Also my tinnitus got worse, I started to feel a bit of a pain deep in my ears.

          I had the same symptoms during my infection in Jan ’22 for about two weeks. Working around heavy machinery takes its toll on your ears, even with PPE.

    2. ks

      2 years and 3months in, I still have seemingly random bouts of mild SoB (the initial bout was not at all mild.) Occasionally, Body Politic hosts updates on the latest research into Long Covid and I found this one particularly useful for understanding, if not treating it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-fDButOvSg. The virus seems to have so many varied and far-reaching effects that researchers see only possibilities at this point. I’ve thrown various things at the problem – Vitamin D, zinc, Wim Hof’s breathing method, home-made fermented foods, vagus nerve stimulation – some clearly helped, others I take on faith. Things have crept along in the direction of improvement, anyway.

        1. ks

          Yes, but I’m old and already had signs of chronic inflammation. My adult daughter, who also had breathing problems (agree with another commenter that it’s a neurological issue) bounced back within a few weeks.

  6. jo6pac

    I was wondering if the drug that can’t be named might be of some use? I had a side effect from the virus in that I had no balance for about 3 weeks then it went away. I later received my drugs from India and took about 4mg for 7 days and haven’t had any problems since.

    1. Rob

      It is certainly known to help with anosmia, and there is at least one RCT that found statistical significance: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(20)30464-8/fulltext (critics whine about low N, but since p-value takes N into consideration, seems important that it still achieved significance).

      Everyone freaks out about anyone making definitive statements like that (that it works for anosmia), but when people talk about the Paxlovid rebound, I notice that the media don’t say there is no such rebound because it hasn’t been validated in an RCT, so I really don’t understand why clinicians’ clinical observations (that I-drug has been very helpful for anosmia vs. that Paxlovid rebound is real) are accepted in one situation and not in the other.

      Based on loads of anecdotal data, it might be similar to aspirin for a headache. Doesn’t work for 100% of people, but it also doesn’t take a study for one to realize it has an effect after hearing from enough people (and again, there *is* an RCT validating use for anosmia).

      Given that anosmia is a neurological effect, my hope would be that it might help reduce other neurological effects. Based on the precautionary principal, I’d certainly want to give it a try.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > there is at least one RCT that found statistical significance

        From the Lancet, the Interpretation:

        Among patients with non-severe COVID-19 and no risk factors for severe disease receiving a single 400 mcg/kg dose of ivermectin within 72 h of fever or cough onset there was no difference in the proportion of PCR positives. There was however a marked reduction of self-reported anosmia/hyposmia, a reduction of cough and a tendency to lower viral loads and lower IgG titers which warrants assessment in larger trials.

        I am pleased to say that we linked to this IVM article when it came out :-)

    2. GF

      IM Doc’s most recent Substack post states that the drug that can’t be mentioned (he does mention it) is one of the proven drugs to treat Covid:
      “Given that there are already affordable and effective antiviral therapies for COVID-19 such as Ivermectin which do not have these safety issues, the current generation of “approved” COVID treatments again highlights the issue with a drug approval system that prioritizes profitable pharmaceuticals.”


      1. flora

        I read that link. I think it’s good rundown of all the ways pharma can design and run tests and present the results (they want to present) in misleading ways, always to make the product appear to be better than it proves to be in effect in the real world.

      2. Reishi

        I was in India when I got covid, likely omicron. I took a 5 day course of ivermectin but still have long covid sadly.

      1. Buzz Meeks

        I used Ivermectin and HCSQ for my bout last week.
        Have also been taking andrographis, pau d’arco since the first announcement of Covid back in 2019 along with C , D3, quencertin, zinc, and Eniva Vibe and chlorophyl.
        Stayed healthy for 2 1/2 years in spite of working for DIY big box dump. Had just started working for a small company with a small office and NO ONE masking except me and I got it . Pretty pissed about it.

  7. Jen

    Brother in law had COVID last thanksgiving. He was only able to back to work at the end of March and still experiences fatigue.

    Cousin had COVID last spring. She still experiences brain fog.

    A friend had it in early January. She has serious short term memory problems.

    Another friend got it in Italy in March of 2020. Stabbing pains in her feet ever since.

    I estimate this is between 10 and 30 percent of the people I know personally who have had COVID. I’ll take a hard pass on rolling the dice with this, thank you very much.

  8. NotTimothyGeithner

    After my moderna booster, I went home and felt fine (I had a ride), especially compared to the second moderna shot. I walked to the grocery store to buy snacks and two cans of soup. Its three blocks, but when I was out of the store parking lot, I was suddenly exhausted and had no idea how I was going to make it home. The thing is I already had prepared for being sick, so what was the thought process behind walking to the store. I have no idea.

    My next memory is the “fog” being lifted around 6 pm. I was schocked how out of it I must have been. People can’t live that way.

  9. jr

    The United States is eminently prepared for living with long COVID. Just look at the opioid epidemic’s victims. We will:

    1. Create a new underclass to demonize and blame for societies’ ills. Lazy, couch-surfing good for nothings! Can’t keep a job! Oh sure, you have long COVID. Does that even really exist?

    2. Generate new slurs to capture this demonization. They have “skells” for the homeless drug addicted. “COVID zombies” is an obvious one. Try to make up your own with the kids!

    3. Produce expensive, useless quasi-medical “treatments” pitched to the desperate. Supplements, anti-COVID diets, neuroactive scalp creams, copper and crystal headsets to rejuvenate your neurons, etc.

    4. (Perhaps) produce expensive long COVID treatments that will bankrupt you, assuming you can even afford to start the process. Private insurers probably won’t be interested in paying for such costly long term treatments.

    5. Publish libraries of self help “literatures” aimed at harnessing the power of positive thinking and rugged individualism to combat long COVID symptoms. Never give up, even if you cannot get out of bed or remember your name! Quitters are losers! Dr. Phil said so!

    6. Cut loose the law enforcement goons to help corral the homeless and destitute “COVID zombies” who are encamped around city centers, housing developments, and campsites along with the opioid addicts, terminally unemployed, disabled, and families fleeing abusers. Look for new “Walking Dead” themed patches and mottos on their uniforms and flags!

    See, it’s all in hand!

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Maybe the use you have in mind for the phrase ” covid zombies” might be shortened to the word ” covombies”?

      I would like to see the phrase “covid zombies” saved for the various Typhoid Mary covid spreaders in our midst.

    2. ChrisPacific

      7. Engage with Big Tech and Big Finance to create slick apps that can pre-approve loans to fund items 3 and 4, market them heavily to people with Long Covid (ask Big Tech to tell you who they are) then tranche and securitize the resulting loans and market them to investors as a new asset class.

      8. Bail out the banks with public money when the loans from 7 inevitably go bad. Paint long COVID sufferers as deadbeat borrowers for defaulting (see items 1, 2 and 6).

  10. Robert Hahl

    If 120 people attend a superspreader event, they won’t all get Covid. Lets say 20% get it, which is 24 people (I don’t what percentage it takes to be called superspreader), then 20% of them get long Covid, which is about 5 people.

    My question is, if you did not get long Covid the first time, are you still 20% likely to get it after reinfection?

    1. Raymond Sim

      Are you asking whether getting through a relatively high-risk event unscathed tells you anything about your future risks?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > they won’t all get Covid

      I know that. However, “everyone will get Covid” is an approved talking point by these same elites, so I made it my starting point. (Also, “there are not very many of the shing,” and they are all in positions of authority. Even 5 elites, as opposed to 24, would have an impact.)

  11. Basil Pesto

    Let’s have a little fun with arithmetic. Suppose we assume that “everyone will get Covid” (since, after all, the Biden administration and the public health establishment are doing their very best to give to everybody, and reinfect those who have gotten it already). Let’s also assume that 20% of those who catch Covid get Long Covid (I’m picking the CDC’s estimate not because it’s the CDC’s, but because it’s in the middle of the range of estimates). Obviously, this would have enormous effects on the general population, but since our health care system exists to deny people care, it’s hard to predict precisely what the effects would be. Let’s look at a more tractable problem: What happens when 20% porition of the ruling class loses substantial cognitive function?

    This is one of the points of the Chakravarty interview on WSWS (and it’s a point GM has long made as well of course): the potential cumulative LC toll. He’s since bobbed up on twitter and when I cc’d him on a tweet excoriating a hopeless guardian australia journalist for trying to sunshine-and-rainbows LC (her twitter thread culminating in the pretty much useless and condescending to boot “see your GP” bullshit). He mentioned he’s got a paper in the pipeline with his team modelling cumulative LC infections (and I’d be interested if there are any here who have been infected more than once and what their LC dynamic has been if any). A model’s only as good as its assumptions and inputs of course but there’s now so much data on Long Covid (this article only scratches the surface, which is no slight on Lambert!) that the results of such modelling will surely be worth paying attention to. Of course, he has his own opinions already. As he puts it:

    If reinfections are no less severe than infections, and you get covid 2x/yr for 75 years, (150 times), how “mild” does it have to be to *not* be the reason that you die? Asking for a friend

    Many people, of course, remain irrationally attached to the herd/natural immunity myth.

      1. Basil Pesto

        As I recall it was mostly being peddled by charlatans and malign assholes in 2020 (Tegnell, GBD etc.), then, incredibly, portions of the mainstream picked it up and ran with it post-vaccines, either misunderstanding or lying about what said vaccines would ultimately be capable of. We don’t seem to be hearing it much from PH leaders anymore (their preferred line is now “we have the tools” and crap like that) but you do see people committed to holding on to the belief, unfortunately.

          1. Basil Pesto

            Yes, I believe Johnson was advised by prominent GBD Do-Nothingists so not surprising. I think chronic imbecile Francois Balloux who is also GBD adjacent was also part of the team advising Johnson.

    1. wilroncanada

      What happens when 20% portion of the ruling class loses substantial cognitive function? They can qualify to become president, just like the last two US presidents.

      1. Stick'em

        United States of America has Long Dotard Syndrome. Acronym is LSD because cognitive function. We have a rule saying you can be president once you turn 35 years old but waiting until 75 is clearly preferred. AFAIK, it began with Reagan of the Alzheimer and her astrologist making policy decisions by playing Tarot cards with Bonzo. Maybe it began sooner but no one remembers clearly unless it’s on the phone somewhere. That was the doorbell, gotta go look and see who’s in the mircowave… TTFN

  12. Alex Cox

    Another science fiction story which deals with the possibility of a massively-stupid populace managed by a hidden capable elite is CM Kornbluth’s The Marching Morons, published in Galaxy in 1951. This may have been an influence on the film, Idiocracy.

    Re. the list of elite participants who risked Covid to attend the Bilderberg Group meeting, don’t forget to include Burns, William J; Petraeus, David H; Sullivan, Jake; Stoltenberg, Jens; and Sinema, Kyrsten!

    1. ArvidMartensen

      Who are these “elites” who go to such gatherings? Perhaps there’s a fair sprinkling of the insanely lucky. Born into wealth. Born with good intelligence. Parents expected great thing and threw money at them. Great education at top school, great friends from good families (of course), won a few sporting contests in some sport or other (of course), never had a really serious illness, a top degree with good grades, maybe a second or third degree.
      Parents’ friend of the family got them a good job straight out of school, or friends of friends. Trajectory up. Great, well connected mentors.
      So are they going to get sick from Covid? Hell no, that’s for weak sob’s. They just know that they can win anything anywhere because they always have.
      Bilderberg? I’ll be there! Masks? I don’t need one thanks, I don’t get sick.

      1. Whobedatguy

        I agree. One reason many elites at the top of Western culture are there is because they expect to succeed whatever the circumstance. In the West, this works sociologically. But the virus functions biologically, with no regard to “confidence”.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Re. the list of elite participants who risked Covid to attend the Bilderberg Group meeting, don’t forget to include Burns, William J; Petraeus, David H; Sullivan, Jake; Stoltenberg, Jens; and Sinema, Kyrsten!

      I noticed, especially Burns, but their names didn’t come up in the random selection.

  13. Glen

    I definitely seem to be loosing a step when it comes to the mental acuity required to do my job well. I have never tested positive, but early on, when home testing was not available, and when one had to be really sick to go to the ER, I was sick several times; just never sick enough to end up at the ER (for which I am grateful).

  14. Anthony G Stegman

    In my view many Americans already suffer from brain damage. Not due to Covid, but due to brainwashing, unrelenting propaganda, poor schooling, poor diet, and lifestyles based on superficiality. It may be difficult to determine who has brain damage due to Covid, versus those suffering due to other reasons.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, if someone gets covid and then manifests new or different or more damage than what he/she had before, that should be easy to tell.

    2. ArvidMartensen

      Yep, I think that very gradually people around the world are being brain damaged and emotionally crippled due to the toxic environment we have built for ourselves over the past 150 years. Toxic chemically, toxic emotionally, and now toxic biologically.
      In fact, we see the toxicity now in the increasing numbers of our young who are in distress due to their environment (lord of the flies schools, broken and stressed out homes, poverty, non-stop mental overload and expectations, sugar-laden diets with almost no nutrition).
      Stable communities, extended families, religion, clean air and water and food, once gave the young a sense of stability and place and future, but no more. The proportion of those born before WW1 who had depression (not including PTSD from war), was very small.
      Our young people know what happens when you crumble. Ask the depressed young about medical and community stigma. Ask them about how they hate themselves for being weird and weak and ugly (internalisation). Ask them about how they are so hopeless and stupid that they can’t even get well on anti-depressants like everybody else does.
      The distress of the young only troubles the community when the few who externalise this blackness of the soul (fuelled by anti-depressants), spectacularly kill others with the guns so conveniently placed everywhere for their use. By that measure alone, the future of the US is certainly f***ked.
      So Long Covid will not be any different, especially brain fog (aren’t you coping? maybe it’s stress? here’s a pill. not working? you should be better by now what’s wrong with you?).
      The trick is always to get people who are in distress to blame themselves for being weak, for being poor, for not feeling better on pills, for not getting better, for not moving on, for not gritting their teeth etc.

      1. Count Pointercount

        It seems based on experience that protracted trauma such as what we experienced from 2020 to the present has deleterious effects on brain function. I didn’t catch covid to my knowledge but after my 18 month quarantine I can’t solve the puzzles I used to be able to solve.

  15. wendigo

    The ruling class appears to be immune from long covid.Except for Herman Cain they all bounce back seemingly ok.

    So far Google has not been able to find an explanation why cockroaches are able to live with covid so easily.

    1. Basil Pesto

      HRH has had a rough go of it, and said it knocked her around. She’s been looking rather frail in the few jubilee appearances she’s made, but then she is in her 90s

      1. BrianM

        One hypothesis that popped on Gez Medinger’s youtube series on long-covid is that prior trauma can make the body more vulnerable. Sadly, poor people get more trauma.

  16. ambrit

    I’m wondering about all we deplorables who might have had Covid but didn’t get tested for it, for whatever reason. Is there a test that can identify past Covid infections, how many, variety, etc? Some markers in the blood for recent heart attacks are known, and utilized. Why not Covid?
    More cynically, could there be a faction that doesn’t want the public to know just how bad this ‘progressive’ disease is?
    Jackpot, I’m looking at you!

  17. Roger Blakely

    I still think that some cases of long COVID are the result of continuous exposure to the virus. I hear public health officials in California saying that virus loads in indoor public spaces today are only exceeded by the highest virus loads from January (2022). They are saying that you should assume that you are inhaling BA.2.12.1 if you are in any indoor public space.

    1. Keith in Modesto

      “I hear public health officials in California saying…”

      I would like to read some more about this. Was this in an article? Which officials? Can you share a link?

      — KinM, a perpetual N95 mask wearer.

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    I will claim that I wrote somewhere quite some time ago that covid will be the Lyme Disease of viruses. I can’t back that up without many hours of painful brute-force searching threads, so I will just have to be satisfied to claim it.

    1. rowlf

      A friend who had a tough experience getting his case of Lyme Disease diagnosed and treated said the J&J vaccination side effects were like having Lyme Disease again.

  19. Steve Moran

    Lambert and everyone, Blessings on you, and thanks!! In 1979, my beloved wife, then 24 and a poor Irish-American girl studying on scholarship at the Art Students League in Manhattan, had a viral infection–that suddenly turned into a bundle of symptoms that are exactly like what everyone is now describing as Long Covid.

    She remembers the moment it struck her: in January of 1979, as she was walking down a flight of stairs. She knew at once that “something is wrong with my head.”

    Needless to say, no doctor could or would help her, and any number of people put her troubles–she was a young girl, an art student, right?–down to head problems.

    When she and I got together years later, we worked together to try to understand her condition. Together, we learned ways to finesse her difficulties. The symptoms though have never gone away.

    I shudder to think of all those new sufferers who, unlike her, lack 1) a bit if a financial cushion (she’s here in our little bungalow), and 2) a healthy, sympathetic person who is with her all the time.

    Thanks again to the founders and maintainers of this blog, and to all the clear-sighted NC commentariat, determined as best they are to ferret out the truth. God help us all.

  20. Greg

    Michael Gove has snuck into your list on Chrystia Freeland’s coat-tails, and subsequently you have a list of 25, not 24 (unless I miscounted).

    What happens when 20% portion of the ruling class loses substantial cognitive function?

    The obvious rejoinder is “How would we tell the difference?”; even putting aside the snark, I do wonder what the substantive effect would be for us plebs and peasants. Would they keep doing things that will destroy the world?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Michael Gove has snuck into your list on Chrystia Freeland’s coat-tails,

      Fixed (by axing Gove from the random list). Sorry, a data mangling,

      1. Greg

        Not the first, nor hopefully the last list Gove has been dropped from.

        Appreciate your efforts as always

  21. Raymond Sim

    We won’t all of us be able to live with Covid, that’s for sure.

    But keep in mind guys, you ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s going to be ‘You get a cancer! And you get a cancer! And you get to bury your children! And eeeeevvvveerybody gets bills! Less money! Less money! Less money!

  22. The Rev Kev

    This post will have to go down as one of the most important ones for NC. It may be an idea to look at it in a year’s time to not only update it but to see if Long-Covid has had any visible effects on “important” people. You know. The ones that thought it a good idea to let the virus spread near and far which has led us to Long Covid. On the books to be written about the early decades of the 21st century, I do believe that the response to the pandemic will be an exclamation mark on the experiment with Neoliberalism. But what a price that has left us to pay with Long Covid.

    1. TBellT

      It may be an idea to look at it in a year’s time to not only update it but to see if Long-Covid has had any visible effects on “important” people.

      Well look at Feinstein, we can expect their handlers to be adroit at playing cover for cognitive decline. And even when they finally get a conscience it’s a lot harder to change the situation. Placing a few “concerned” quotes in the news isn’t gonna cut it.

  23. Tim

    Long covid is multiple different things happening as a result of having covid. For the Chronic Fatigue like symptoms where activity and stressors cause relaps that is most likely due to the immune system getting screwed up to be hyperactive and easily triggered as if you have an infection that needs to be put down. There was a small town 40 years ago where a massive amount of the population got Chronic Fatigue. That always led me to believe its origin was an infection, and long-COVID seems to reinforce that thought.

    People being easily winded is either lung damage or heart damage from the virus directly.

    Brain fog is likely brain damage too as suggested, presumably directly from the virus. At least this one has the best chance of being corrected in time due to neuroplasticity.

    I’m skeptical of the estimates of duration, simply because so many people still have it. I guess they could be filtering responses to those that no longer have it, but I doubt it.

    1. Juneau

      I don’t understand the meaning of a “median duration” of Long Covid until all cases of Long Covid in the study have resolved. I had Covid in April 2020, and the initial Covid and brain fog was like being drugged Gez Medinger compared Long Covid to being hit by a truck and then chloroformed on the way back up. It has improved significantly over the past 2 years. Biggest help for me personally was low dose naltrexone, along with LOTS of rest and time. Ironically I was on a protocol similar to the FLCCC long hauler protocol prior to Covid. It was given to me by an integrative medicine doctor for another condition and it may have helped my recovery. Great minds truly think alike. Thank you for your attention to this issue.

    2. Basil Pesto

      yes, and not only this, but we’re still not clear what duration of symptoms actually tells us beyond, well, the duration of symptoms.

      Does this mean you’re in the clear (until your next infection)? We know that SC2 can persist in the body, and we know that viruses generally can persist in the body and cause damage over time (consider the major 2021 study linking MS to Eppstein-Barr, inter alia). Is there any reason to think short term LC symptoms are per se encouraging? It hasn’t even been three years yet.

      Moreover, while it’s not a *perfect* analogue, we have SARS1 as well to consider despite the relatively minute number of patients. There’s even quite a bit of anglophone reporting from the notable Toronto outbreak/s. Many of them had “long-SARS” for years, and it got worse. See eg:



      1. Basil Pesto

        (my above comment was supposed to quote Tim’s final paragraph, for context)

  24. B dog

    I had a response to the second vaccine shot. After the shot it seemed like I couldn’t understand what people were saying. I had had a serious hearing test back in 2018 and went back and had another test to see how much hearing loss I had from the shot. It turns out I had almost exactly the same hearing ability but what the audiologist said was that my brain was not taking those sounds and making them into words. I wear hearing aids and had them increase the volume which helps but it is still hard for me to understand the sounds I hear. It doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

    1. Count Pointercount

      Presumably the Moderna vaccine. The anecdote is that after the first shot (in which your immune system was caught off guard), when the second injection occurs the body is ready to “fight,” hence the symptoms.

      1. playon

        I had a bad reaction to my second Pfizer shot, the symptoms were extreme dizziness/feeling faint and chest pain. I don’t trust the MNRA vaccines as a result of my experience. I notice the US federal government is taking its sweet time in green lighting alternative non-MNRA vaccines such as Novavax et al.

  25. 27

    So, long time reader, thanks to Yves, Lambert et al and the community for creating and maintaining an adult site.
    I had COVID in January and that delayed elbow surgery. Mild symptoms – like a sinus infection – but I did test positive (home and PCR) for eight or nine days. Odd thing was the fog. Fog is a good word for it as it came on unannounced and then went away – for me an episode lasted about 45 minutes. The fog was a part of daily life for 10 or so weeks. I used to drink a fair amount of wine and never felt like I needed to pull over when I was younger (60 now) and driving – but on at least a half dozen occasions I literally pulled off the road on my way to job sites/client meetings. The dizziness made me feel as if I couldn’t keep my truck in its lane. Dizziness and incomprehension of simple schedule and subcontractor issues.
    The oddest part was that I was convinced on at least a dozen occasions that I was slurring my words as I spoke. I asked a few of my employees when I thought this was occurring and they told me that they didn’t notice anything. I cancelled several client meetings for fear of sounding imbecilic. I’ve told friends and colleagues that long COVID is real.
    I also told my primary care doc and I honestly felt as if he couldn’t care less. He told me he was understaffed and overworked and that any symptoms would be temporary and pass. No one seemed interested enough to document any of this and at 60 I’m not sure if cognitive impairment is part of aging (I’m sure it is) and it’s accelerated by COVID or if COVID was the primary cause of the fog. Either way, the fog was and is real.

  26. Samuel Conner

    The thought occurs that it doesn’t take as much brain function to tend a suburban food garden as it does to fly a modern aircraft or perform surgery.

    Maybe we’ll become a more resilient society by an oblique route.

  27. JTMcPhee

    Today I got a call from my PCP’s office, the tech wanted to relay results of latest blood work for regular checkup. I’ve so far been covid-free as far as I can tell, my native misanthropic standoffishness plays well in the current situation. But when I mentioned feeling drug out likely due to Epstein-Barr exacerbation over the last five years, the tech volunteered that the doc is seeing a LOT of patients post-acute covid who are displaying all the described symptoms, especially the extreme fatigue and brain fog. He declines to incorporate the iver med into his protocols, not that it seems to help with long covid as far as I have read. His prophylaxis suggestions are Vit C, zinc, probiotics and Vit D. I think I will mail him the pages from the FLCCC on treatment and prophylaxis, since he does not do texts or email (definitely old-school.

    So in my little corner of west central Florida, the dumbing down and deflation of America appears to be well underway. God help us, (The church we used to attend, pretty big with a big choir my wife used to sing in, has had some heavy waves of covid particularly the choir, whose members so wanted to get their lives back that they had one of those superspreader events, rehearsals and then a big sing one Sunday. With anticipated results. And my wife has friends in that choir, who keep calling and asking when she is going to come back and sing with them…)

    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      Spouse and self were in our church choir – after a hiatus they started up this fall but we declined to participate – I thought “maybe later”. Now, recently diagnosed with a long-term immune-deficiency syndrome, I realize I am never going back. May peace be with them, and also with me.

  28. Jack

    “Most had not been hospitalized.” Perhaps there’s a clue here. The hospitalized likely would have received supplemental O2, the unhospitalized, not. The “happy hypoxic” symptom, people undistressed by low O2 saturation, may play into it. Perhaps this is hypoxemic brain damage. Are there bad headaches, which are relieved by acetaminophen?

  29. NL

    This brain fog reminds me of the CNS problems resulting from an adverse reaction to the anti-malarial mefloquine, with the exception that no mention has been made of one-sided headaches. Apart from that:
    Having to start reading a long sentence four or five times, having forgotten the start of it by the time the end of the long sentence had been reached. Then there was the letter from the Congressional Record accepting my submission, of which I had no memory of. Getting verb tenses mixed up while writing. This was all months after I’d stopped taking it- six doses total, a per week.
    The only thing that helped was taking lots of B-12, which I decided to do on my own. Nine months of this suffering, for a drug I need not have taken.
    I’d called the CDC in Atlanta- this was prior to the age of Internet information- to ask if where I would be traveling in India had active malaria, and they refused to tell me. I’d no knowledge of its danger, merely did not want to take unnecessary medicine, even if only one tablet per week. A German- trained doctor in Nepal explained to me why I was sick, that I’d been taking a very dangerous drug. Later the US doc yelled at me over the phone that he’d lived in Africa for ten years and never had a problem with it. Last I checked for lawsuits against Roche, they were from former British Army soldiers.
    Oh, and fatigue goes along with CNS problems, that’s a given.

  30. Taurus

    I have a child who has ME/ CFS. I will spare you the gory details of our family’s “living with ME/ CFS’ for 6 years. Suffice to say that I have been watching the movie of long Covid before there was long Covid — the symptoms are eerily similar.

    Here is the web site which tracks actual medical advances in this area:

    It might help someone who suffers from long Covid – judging from the comments – at least a few people.

  31. JAC

    I am three weeks out from when I tested positive. As I said I had a psychotic break at the beginning of my infection (doctors did not care about that at all). I still cough when the humidity gets high, weirdest sensation. Fatigue and shortness of breath, even when I am only eating. Harder for me to make sense of the world and my surroundings and I find myself talking to myself a lot more. Finding my paranoia is on a hair trigger as well.

    I am not feeling well about my future.

  32. PhillyPhilly

    So quick math: if in the US we can expect to get COVID 3-5 times a year, and each infection has a 20% risk of long COVID then in a given year with 3 infections we have only a .8^3 = .512 chance of making it out without long COVID. So in 2 years that’s .8^6 = 26.2% chance of escaping long COVID. After a decade your chance of escape drops to about a tenth of a percent. I’m not a fan of these odds

    1. Basil Pesto

      I think 3-5 times a year as a generalisation is unrealistic. Maybe 1-3, with 3 being quite unlikely, antibodies being what they are. I recommend checking out Arajit Chakravarty’s pending work on this topic though, which I mention upthread. Your point stands though: the odds at the moment for most of the population (tricked into thinking either that Covid is no big deal or that they’re more protected from Bad Things Happening than they actually are), are unacceptably high.

      For some reason, only Chinese public health officials seem to understand these risks. At least, that is what I assume, based on what they’re doing.

      1. PhillyPhilly

        Agree, I might have been overstating, so let’s go with the lower bounds here. Let’s say on average you can expect to get COVID once per year, and each infection has a 10% chance of long COVID. Over a 5 year period you’ll have only a 60% chance avoiding long COVID, and over 10 years a 40% chance. Still terrible odds given how devastating long COVID can be.

      2. playon

        A woman posted on twitter than her children had caught COVID twice in a 12 week period, so the risk may be higher than you think, especially with the Omicron variants spreading around.

    2. cnchal

      > . . . I’m not a fan of these odds

      Me neither. It’s a covid suicide pact. The only answer is to get rid of it, and the longer it takes to realize that, the worse the suffering.

  33. BrianM

    Passed two-years into my long-covid journey. Lots of ups and downs and won’t bore people with my prognosis. Suffice to say as someone who was previously very active (I taught dancing), its not been good.

    To make Lambert a bit more precise, there is no widely accepted test yet. There is one that does seem to be showing promise (cf Bruce Patterson https://www.covidlonghaulers.com/ – commercial link) which tests cytokines (immune system – please don’t ask me to explain!) Interestingly, he thinks he can distinguish ME/chronic fatigue, long Lymes disease and other related stuff. If he’s right, we may have a test but still to be fully validated. He’s also trialling a treatment that involves a cocktail that includes AIDS antiviral.

    On mechanisms for long covid, fibrous build up in blood seem to be a mechanism that many are increasingly focussing on (work by Dr Ade Wentzel and others). Debate about cause vs symptom, but would seem to explain some of the variety of symptoms.

    I have some hope, in that there are talented people looking at this and they do seem to be making progress. But still a long way to go: even if the proposed treatments work, then will still be years before trials prove it and our NHS accepts it. And if they don’t work, we’re still searching.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Thanks to all commenters above who have shared their experiences. Sorry some of you have had such a rough time of it

      What Basil Pesto said.

  34. fajensen

    Let’s look at a more tractable problem: What happens when 20% porition of the ruling class loses substantial cognitive function?

    How would we tell?

    In my opinion not much will change, unless someone screws up in a drastic way, because we are already there: These people are already openly deranged, or visible senile, or suffers from frontal-lobe dementia and “society” puts a lot of efforts into pretending that ‘this cannot be’ and diverting its energy into a diversity of non-problems.

    The Covid-19 pandemic simply made the decay in faculties, the craziness, and the sociopathy a lot more visible, and it exposed that dysfunction is everywhere, but, that happened long before Corona.

    F.ex. the idiot Anders Tegnell had about 40 years of successful career while being an idiot / sociopath all along. It was just that nobody knew the clown existed before we saw him spouting his gibberish on TV.

    And at least half of these “leaders” and “scientists” are the same, and at least half of the population are even stupider and more sociopathic than them, and they will eagerly buy into whatever the crazies say as long as it means that someone they don’t like cops it.

    Which is maybe a clue to how most of these dum-dums acquired power. Bureaucracies do ‘selection by attrition’, finding the dumbest and the dullest for the highest positions. All that is really needed is the kind of dead personality that can sustain four weekly meetings with 140 slide PowerPoint decks on ‘best practice’ or ‘processes’ and keep that going until all of the competition cannot bear to even think about getting out of bed for one more of these events.

    ‘Inherited Power’ becomes the most normal of the dysfunctional lot, thus their cray-cray ‘sells’ better.

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