On August 15, the rules about wearing masks in healthcare places and staying away from others when you have Covid stopped. This was the end of the last two rules we had because of the pandemic. Now, it’s up to each person to keep themselves safe from the virus. This is similar to how we don’t make people stay isolated when they have a cold or the flu. Before Covid-19, getting sick was seen as a normal part of life, and we didn’t make a big deal about it. Britain stopped these rules two years ago, and the USA is back to normal. It’s about time New Zealand did the same. Just two months before these rules ended, Unite Against Covid-19’s Twitter page warned about the risks of getting Covid again. Dr. Natalie Netzler, a virus expert, said, “Every time you get Covid, your chances of having other serious problems go up.”
One out of every ten people who get Covid have Long Covid, and the risk goes up with each infection. Covid-19 can harm the brain and damage nerve connections, causing problems like early dementia. The virus also weakens and kills important white blood cells called T cells, which protect us from diseases. This makes us more likely to get sick from other illnesses. Since the pandemic started, there has been a big increase in heart attacks, especially among people aged 25-44. A major study found that Covid increases the risk of diabetes by 66%. Another study, which looked at the bodies of 44 people who died from Covid, found that the virus had spread to all the major organs, not just the lungs, and even reached the spinal cord. Children can also get sick, and they are 78% more likely to develop new health problems after having Covid.
Long Covid causes terrible symptoms that last for months or even years after the initial infection. Many of my friends have been sick for four years and still have no hope of getting better. There are many symptoms, including difficulty breathing, severe headaches, dizziness, memory problems, heart palpitations, and extreme tiredness.
Dr. Leana Wen, who used to deny the existence of Long Covid in the US, has changed her mind. In 2022, she even encouraged people to go to work even if they had Covid to prevent staff shortages and economic problems. However, she recently wrote an article saying she is very sick with what she calls “post-pneumonia” disability, with symptoms similar to Long Covid. This made her realize the seriousness of the condition and the need for better prevention and treatment.
One big misunderstanding is that being healthy or having Covid before will protect you from Long Covid. Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology, says that many young people who got Long Covid had it for the third, fourth, or fifth time they got infected. They didn’t know it could happen to them, and there weren’t any warnings. For example, one person on Reddit got Covid twice, and the second time, they had Long Covid.
We’re already seeing the effects of Long Covid and repeat infections on jobs and the economy. In Britain, 2.6 million people can’t work because they are sick for a long time. In the US, there are also fewer people working compared to before the pandemic.
I talked to a friend about Covid and Long Covid, and she asked if she should stay in lockdown by herself. No, that’s not necessary. We need to move forward, but we also need good health advice and clean air rules. This way, we can make decisions based on knowledge, not ignorance. Unfortunately, public health experts and governments are not doing this. They have downplayed the severity of Covid-19, saying it’s not worse than a cold if you’re vaccinated. People like me who still take precautions against Covid often feel judged and laughed at. People are surprised and upset when I wear a mask on the bus. They think I’m being overly worried and stuck in the past. But if you understand the science, it’s worrying that people are treating Covid like it’s no big deal. Going against the popular opinion can be lonely and hard, but we can’t ignore the serious effects of Long Covid and getting Covid again. The science is clear, and the impact is significant.
Image Source: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201105/Persistent-and-extensive-lung-damage-seen-in-COVID-19-patients.aspx