Long COVID

U.S. public health officials and the public are underestimating the current threat of the COVID pandemic and failing to take even minimal precautions. We are already seeing the consequences – a surge of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
In this radio interview with John Batchelor, our conversation includes (1) the approval of the latest COVID vaccines; and (2) the problem – especially for people in some occupations – with testing for the presence of marijuana and other drugs.
Long COVID has long been a syndrome in search of a disease and, more importantly, an underlying explanation. A new study in Cell tries to use Occam’s Razor to find the underlying cause. While not truly causal, it is an interesting hypothesis – with lots to unpack.
Long COVID comprises a set of persistent symptoms developing weeks after COVID per se has waned. Long COVID cases have been remarkably stable; about 36% of those who had experienced COVID developed long-term symptoms. As such, long COVID deserves more attention.
Last week, the FDA and CDC presented their recommendations for the newest round of COVID-19 vaccines. As with everything COVID, there are proponents and detractors, or, putting it another way, both knowledgeable experts and disinformation-spreading attention-seekers. The reality is that a group of experts made a judgment based on actual data.  We discuss the evidence here so you can make your own informed decision.
There are upticks in early indicators of a COVID surge, including hospitalizations, test positivity, and SARS-CoV-2 concentrations in wastewater. And a new Omicron subvariant is rapidly gaining in prevalence. We need to prepare.
As the COVID pandemic moves further into our rearview mirrors, questions have been raised about a more prolonged manifestation of COVID, Long COVID. Now, there seems to be a concern about more prolonged symptoms from the COVID vaccines; we can call it Long Vax. What do we know and don’t know?
Long COVID remains chimeric, more a litany of symptoms than a clearcut “disease.” Perhaps a clustering of symptoms might reveal the underlying picture. Researchers using lots of data and statistical analysis identify some patterns.
Long COVID remains an enigma wrapped within a conundrum. Many individuals claim the affliction. But without a consensus on its diagnosis, unraveling its underlying physiologic changes, let alone therapeutic approaches, is a random walk. It's a lot a drunk searching for their keys under a streetlamp because the light is better. Two developments this week may well begin the unwrapping.
Long COVID burdens tens of millions of Americans and the nation's healthcare system, but our response to it has been fragmented and chaotic. We need to address it without delay, with more research and better access to treatment.
COVID is still killing more than 1,000 Americans a week; long COVID causes prolonged misery; and a new, more transmissible subvariant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is spreading.
Long COVID will take a toll on the nation's healthcare system for the foreseeable future, but we can reduce new cases by treating acute COVID infections with a commonly prescribed, inexpensive medicine.