COVID ongoing, COVID eternal?

Bookmarked The reality gap (

The failure to recognise the ongoing severity of COVID-19 is creating a reality gap that is being filled by groups peddling misinformation.

“You don’t want to get this disease once if you can avoid it, and you don’t want to get it four times for sure.”

— Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme



Four types of Long COVID

Bookmarked People’s CDC COVID-19 Weather Report (

34% have heart, kidney, & circulation-based symptoms; risk of heart failure post-COVID is almost doubled
33% have respiratory & sleep problems, anxiety, headache & chest pains
23% have musculoskeletal & nervous system symptoms
10% have combined digestive & respiratory symptoms

From Weill Cornell Medicine’s press release:

Only in the first symptom pattern was the sex ratio roughly 1 to 1; in the other three, female patients made up a significant majority (more than 60 percent).


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.

Health Science

More research shows that COVID is much more than the flu

The number of young and middle aged people dying from heart issues has increased since the start of the pandemic.

The excess death, defined as the difference between the observed and the predicted mortality rates, was most pronounced for the youngest (25–44 years) aged decedents, ranging from 23% to 34% for the youngest compared to 13%–18% for the oldest age groups.

Yeo, YH, Wang, M, He, X, et al. Excess risk for acute myocardial infarction mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Med Virol. 2022; 111. doi:10.1002/jmv.28187


COVID-19 activates similar response to Parkinson’s disease, study suggests

Lead researcher Trent Woodruff, from the university’s neuro-inflammation laboratory, said the findings illustrated a potential future risk for neurodegenerative conditions in people who had been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Health Society

Why others get upset when you mask

Bookmarked Why Do They *Think* That? by JTO, Ph.D. (

I’ll just give you a non-comprehensive run-down of various biases (which are basically rules of cognition that become errors when they’re incorrectly applied) and heuristics (which are basically thinking shortcuts or strategies that can lead to thinking errors), focusing on those that can cause people to be more alarmed by risk reduction than by the risk posed by actual threats.

Why people don’t seem to care about the health risks”

  • People don’t like to think about death or disability
  • Death and disability are abstract without personal experience
  • Selection and survivorship biases when they only see healthy people out and about
  • People estimate their own risk based on personal experiences
  • “base-rate fallacy: people are much more swayed by single dramatic events than by large numbers or probability statistics”
  • Optimism Bias = expect they’ll have a good outcome
  • Perceived invulnerability = don’t think bad stuff will happen to them
  • Diffusion of Responsibility –> they can’t directly see or be held responsible for the consequences of their actions (e.g. passing along sickness so people you don’t know die)
  • Just World Thinking = “people get what they deserve” because otherwise would have to admit the world is unfair and random, and can attribute their success to their own choices by blaming what others have done differently than them (e.g. get vaxxed)
  • Fundamental Attribution Error, which leads us to focus on personal vs. situational causes for other people’s behavior and outcomes – though not for our own”

Why do people seem to care so much that YOU care about Covid health risks?

  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Confirmation Bias
  • Psychological Reactance –> people get mad when they think their freedoms are under attack or they’ll lose control –> trying to reassert control
  • “people personalize the actions of others, inferring that those people mean to have a negative effect on them – for example, thinking that masked people are deliberately trying to make them irate or imply they’re stupid” = hostile attribution bias
  • group norms, conformity, and group consensus
  • group think happens when going along with your group trumps making an informed decision –> group polarization = group beliefs gradually become more radical

“People wish to be seen (by themselves and others) as reasonable. Because of this, when folks try to decide on a “rational” response to an environmental threat, they often look at the array of available risk mitigation options and try to pick a percentage of these that is neither an ‘under-response’ or an ‘over-response.’” “Unfortunately, that’s not the way risk actually works; a threat is what it is, and it isn’t going to negotiate with you regarding how much you have to do or what is a “fair” amount of effort.”


Health Science

The Geek’s Guide to Long COVID

Bookmarked The Geek’s Guide to Long COVID (

The Geek’s Guide To Long Covid is offers information on how to use technology like apps and wearables to collect data, monitor your health and self-advocate with medical staff. Plus general info and news on Long Covid.

Signs of autoimmune disease, difficulty exercising noted 1 year after COVID (CIDRAP)

Two studies published today in the European Respiratory Journal describe long-COVID findings, one revealing signs of autoimmune disease in 41% of blood samples taken 1 year after recovery, and the other showing that 23% of patients still had exercise intolerance a year after hospital release.

Small sample size? (106 studied + 56 baseline)

Two-Year Health Outcomes in Hospitalized COVID-19 Survivors in China (JAMA Network)

In this longitudinal cohort study that included 1864 patients, the most common symptoms at 2 years after SARS-CoV-2 infection were fatigue, chest tightness, anxiety, dyspnea, and myalgia, and most symptoms resolved from 1-year to 2-year follow-up, although the incidence of dyspnea showed no significant change.

People still short of breath two years later 😔


Health Science

New variant season!

Bookmarked These scientists traced a new coronavirus lineage to one office — through sewage (

Researchers are hunting through waste water for heavily mutated SARS-CoV-2 variants that could be the next Omicron.

Just in time for the boosters no one is taking anyway 🤪

Impressive sleuthing work from this team, supported by the good folks in Public Works. I can only imagine how frustrating it is to narrow your search to 30 people but not be able to figure out which is sick. Modern shades of Typhoid Mary with 40% not willing to be tested to see if they are carriers.

Big COVID-19 waves may be coming, new Omicron strains suggest (Science)

“The scale of immune evasion has never been seen before, and the virus is still rapidly evolving,” [Cao] says. “It’s very bad.”


4% of the population, 30% of the deaths


jUsT a CoLd 🤪


Where is COVID going?

Covid will be a leading cause of death in the U.S. indefinitely, whether or not the pandemic is ‘over’ (NBC News)

For COVID-19, endemic stage could be two years away (YaleNews)

How Quickly Can You Get Infected With Omicron After An Exposure? (HuffPost)



Political Commentary Society

The shifting baseline of normal

Shifting baseline is a known phenomenon in ecology that’s led to / accompanied complacency with the collapse of the salmon population, for example. I didn’t really think people would adopt a new baseline for wildfires and drought and flooding but I guess I should have expected it 🤷‍♀️ People *really* hate making changes to their own life — and admitting when things aren’t working — and they’ll accept a *lot* before they’ll acknowledge the need for drastic change.