A new study shows that repeat COVID infections contribute to a significant additional risk of adverse health conditions in multiple organ systems. Long COVID is going to be a defining issue of our times.
First published: Nov 2022.
W ear a mask in public, I am literally begging you. If you know the actual data, not the misinformation, about how bad long COVID really is, wearing a mask is the only rational decision. It’s also the only moral one. Yet here we are.
I’m a biologist. I work in a cardiac biomechanical engineering lab.
We don’t know everything about long COVID yet, but what we do know is downright terrifying. But you’d never know it if you don’t seek out that information yourself.
The nonchalance with which we are treating COVID and its long-term effects does NOT reflect the severity of the disease, but rather the willingness of those in power to sacrifice the lives and wellbeing of the masses.
This pandemic is a mass killing AND a mass disabling event.
Long COVID is going to be a defining issue of our times.
Never let yourself forget that it didn’t have to be this way. This suffering, this death, this societal-level destruction? It’s far from over. But every day, we have choices. We can choose to interrupt transmission.
We can choose to save lives.
We can choose to act differently. We can choose to act with compassion and empathy. We can choose life, and love for our fellow human beings. We can wear a mask. We can get vaccinated. We can avoid high transmission events.
We can choose to be better.
Now for those stats, I warned you about. Long COVID is bad. Really bad. A new study from my university, Washington University in St. Louis, was just published yesterday.
“The researchers found that repeat SARS-CoV-2 infections contribute significant additional risk of adverse health conditions in multiple organ systems.
“Such outcomes include hospitalization; disorders affecting the lungs, heart, brain, and the body’s blood, musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal systems; and even death. Reinfection also contributes to diabetes, kidney disease and mental health issues.”
While this study has limitations (the most significant of which is that it was conducted on Veterans only, a group that overrepresents white men), it is one of the broadest-ranging studies conducted so far, with over 150,000 affected study participants.
These 150,000 were compared to two control groups of veterans, more than 5 million veterans who were not affected by COVID, and another group of around 5 million veterans from 2017, before COVID appeared in humans.
Dr Ziyad Al-Aly is a clinical epidemiologist and the lead author of the study. He is quoted as saying, “Without ambiguity, our research showed that getting an infection a second, third or fourth time contributes to additional health risks in the acute phase, meaning the first 30 days after infection, and in the months beyond, meaning the long COVID phase.”
Moreover, successive infections were shown to increase risks.
As Dr Al-Aly stated, “Even if you’ve had two COVID-19 infections, it’s better to avoid a third. And if you’ve had three infections, it’s best to avoid the fourth.”
According to the new study, of 1,000 people reinfected with COVID after having it at least once before:
- 19 will die of COVID;
- 100/1,000, a full 10% of people reinfected were expected to be hospitalized;
- 75/1,000 people reinfected with COVID should expect to see impacts on lung health;
- 62/1,000 people reinfected with COVID should expect to see impacts on heart health;
- 34/1,000 people reinfected with COVID should expect to see impacts on blood, such as issues with coagulation;
- 47/1,000 people reinfected with COVID should expect to see issues with fatigue;
- 100/1,000 people reinfected with COVID should expect to see gastrointestinal issues;
- 38/1,000 people reinfected with COVID should expect to see kidney disorders;
- 116/1,000 people reinfected with COVID should expect to experience mental health disorders;
- 6/1,000 people reinfected with COVID should expect to develop diabetes;
- 26/1,000 people reinfected with COVID should expect to develop musculoskeletal disorders
- 52/1,000 people reinfected with COVID should expect to develop neurological disorders.
This is all data from ONE STUDY.
The conclusion is clear; COVID is not a mild disorder, but a far-reaching infection with the potential to permanently damage the lungs, heart, blood, brain, kidneys and muscles.
Recurring infections increase these risks.
If you didn’t know about these risks due to the failures of our public health authorities, now you do. It’s disgusting and devastating that information such as this, which is literally life or death, is accessible only to those who can read scientific papers.
Take steps to protect yourself and others. | Unsplash/Cherrydeck
Take steps to protect yourself and others. Educate others about the severity of COVID and the risks of long COVID. Get vaccinated. Avoid high-risk situations. And wear a good quality, high filtration mask.
I know it’s difficult to fight despair when faced with the reality of our situation. But we MUST keep in mind that every action on our part MATTERS. Every single broken chain of transmission can mean the difference between life and death.
That’s worth masking for.
Antimaskers are tragic, but in their own way, I have to laugh at them for really truly believing that they are being radical or subversive rather than cruel and selfish.
Compassion is radical. Community is subversive. Wearing a mask is both.
The full paper this data was pulled from can be accessed here.
And here is an article written up in Reuters about the study, for a more accessible summary.
— AUTHOR —
▫ Alex Petrovnia, a scientist, writer and trans advocate who is passionate about refuting disinformation. He is the founder and president of the Trans Formations Project.
- Text: This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 13 November 2022 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.
- Cover: Unsplash/Filip Andrejevic. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)