10 COVID facts health officials downplay
by Tyee contributing editor Andrew Nikiforuk
As the pandemic evolves, the failure of current public health policies now shines clearer than a midnight star. The assumption that hybrid immunity — vaccines combined with infections — would end COVID’s relentless evolution has fed the pandemic, not starved it.
If getting infected, vaxed or vaxed-plus-infected actually made us safe as COVID circulates, Canada wouldn’t be recording its highest death rate of nearly 20,000 this year.
Why aren’t officials daily reminding people of these critical 10 points?
1. COVID is airborne and travels like smoke.
Many public health officials still refuse to acknowledge this glaring fact. Until government makes a major investment in ventilation and air filtration in public schools, we risk kids getting COVID more than once a year.
As I noted earlier, we don’t know what impact repeated infections will have on children’s immune systems and vulnerability to other kinds of infections, but it could be damaging. In fact, the stakes could be enormous. As a writer for the Gauntlet put it: “The idea that a child born today could contract COVID 40 times before college and live a normal, healthy lifespan, is completely unsupported by what we know about this disease.”
A responsible society cares for its young; a failing one does not.
2. COVID is a disease of the vascular system.
This explains why COVID infection can leave in its wake a variety of cardiovascular injuries including stroke, restricted blood flow, inflamed hearts and blood clots in the heart and lungs.
It also explains why COVID in different people affects different organs. The infection travels by the vascular system to the brain, the gut, the heart, the lymph glands and the kidneys. It was never, as hubris has alleged, a cold or “just the flu.”
3. COVID alters and ages brain function for up to two years after an infection.
Based on the health records of more than million people, a Lancet study found that COVID infection increases the risk of a psychotic disorder, cognitive deficit, dementia and epilepsy or seizures up to two years after the infection. Even a mild case of COVID can shrink the brain, dramatically affecting neurological functioning and have the impact of a decade of aging.
4. Having COVID is associated with a 66 per cent higher risk of developing new onset diabetes.
So says an article in Scientific Reports. Another paper found that the risk of diabetes increased 1.17-fold after COVID-19 infection “compared to patients with general upper respiratory tract infections.”
5. COVID damages the heart and can cause sudden strokes in young people.
Prior to the pandemic excess deaths from strokes were on the decline in the United States. Using data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that excess deaths from strokes rose 23 to 34 per cent among young people between the ages of 25 and 44, and rose 13 to 18 percent in older age groups since the beginning of the pandemic.
6. Each and every COVID infection exerts a toll on your health.
Moreover people with repeat infections were three and a half times more likely to develop lung problems, three times more likely to suffer heart conditions and 1.6 times more likely to experience brain conditions than patients who had been infected with the virus once.
As one recent Canadian study noted, “Because each new SARS-CoV-2 infection carries some risk of long COVID, everyone remains at risk for developing the condition.”
7. Immune dysfunctions can persist for up to eight months and possibly longer after a COVID infection.
Australian researchers found “an ongoing, sustained inflammatory response following even mild-to-moderate acute COVID-19.”
8. Women are at greatest risk for long COVID.
We don’t know why, but we don’t improve things by ignoring the evidence.
9. Vaccines alone won’t deliver us.
No argument here. Yes, do get vaccinated. Still, we should keep some important caveats in mind.
Although vaccines have significantly reduced deaths and hospitalizations their effectiveness is waning as the virus that causes COVID evolves. And by not engaging in other public health measures, we make it easier to spread and therefore evolve.
And consider this flaw built into the current messaging strategy. Just why would the public seek out booster shots (which really do work for a short period of time), when the authorities pretend the worst is over and that no other interventions are necessary?
There is no single technological fix that will dispatch COVID let alone end the pandemic.
There is only one way out of our COVID mess. It is not denial. And it is not passivity.
Public health officials and politicians aren’t telling us this because they are afraid to take on the responsibility for implementing these changes. Or they are too ashamed to admit the scale of their mistakes.
That means each and every citizen must send them a signal that we refuse to surrender to an immune evasive virus. And that the prospect of massive ill health of our children is not acceptable collateral damage.
The pandemic will not end until we consciously and collectively act.
We can only do that by systematically changing conditions of modern life to starve this wildfire of its fuel and oxygen.
(Editor’s note: The Tyee is an excellent source of independent online journalism. This piece is by Tyee contributing editor Andrew Nikiforuk, an award-winning journalist whose books and articles focus on epidemics, the energy industry, nature and more. To read the whole article click here.)