The pandemic isn’t over — or shouldn’t be, anyway

Bookmarked The Year the Pandemic ‘Ended’ (part 3) by Artie Vierkant and Beatrice Adler-Bolton (

On June 6th, 2022, Politico published: “How many Covid deaths are acceptable? Some Biden officials tried to guess.”

From the piece:

Biden officials in recent months privately discussed how many daily Covid-19 deaths it would take to declare the virus tamed, three people familiar with the conversations told POLITICO.

The discussions, which took place across the administration, and have not been previously disclosed, involved a scenario in which 200 or fewer Americans die per day…

Our opinion is that this reflects a broader issue: that, by this point, the Biden administration have clearly absorbed a central lesson, which is that as long as they attempt to make a good show of things––pretending everything is ok––the levels of illness, death, debility, and disability from covid that the US public will apparently just absorb without rioting is shockingly high.

Importantly though, one of the individuals cited says that the number of deaths floated, 200 a day, would be “aspirational.” And that individual was right: even with our now-restrained data reporting infrastructure, we’ve never gotten down to that level. In fact, the lowest we’ve gotten to for any significant stretch of time is still an average of 300 deaths a day, or over 110,000 deaths a year.

And in the UK:

COVID isn’t just infecting you—it could be reactivating viruses that have been dormant in your body for years by Erin Prater (Fortune Well) – Dec 26, 2022

A mild or even an asymptomatic case of COVID can cause reservoirs of some viruses you’ve previously battled to reactivate, potentially leading to symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome—a condition that resembles long COVID, according to a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology. 

COVID may suppress our immune systems:

What If COVID Reinfections Wear Down Our Immunity? by Andrew Nikiforuk (The Tyee) – Nov. 6, 2022

T cells are a body’s key line of defence against infection. COVID infections can cause them to prematurely age, harm organs and become exhausted, warns Dr. Anthony Leonardi.

The epidemiology of long COVID in US adults by Robertson et al. (Clinical Infectious Diseases) – Dec 21, 2022

An estimated 7.3% (95% CI: 6.1-8.5%) of all respondents reported long COVID, corresponding to approximately 18,828,696 adults…We observed a high burden of long COVID, substantial variability in prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 and risk factors unique from SARS-CoV-2 risk…

Covid-19 and drug overdoses drive US life expectancy to lowest level in 25 years, CDC reports by Deidre McPhillips (CNN) – Dec. 22, 2022

Covid-19 was a major contributor to the decline in life expectancy, which is now nearly two and a half years shorter than it was at the start of the pandemic. After a drop of 1.8 years in 2020, another cut of 0.6 years last year brought US life expectancy down to 76.4 years in 2021.

[L]ife expectancy typically only changes by 0.1 or 0.2 years.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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