Frank Ziegler, a 58-year-old lawyer from Tennessee, USA, contracted the new coronavirus in January 2021 with mild symptoms, except for a bit of a stuffy nose. But soon after, he found that he seemed to have lost his former good appetite, and the food he used to love is now completely uninteresting, and his weight has plummeted. Later, he developed symptoms such as tremors, difficulty breathing and cognitive impairment.
After going to the hospital for a bunch of tests, the results did not seem to be abnormal, but he was very worried that his body would never return to the way it used to be.
Ziegler’s “strange disease” is precisely “Long Covid”, also known as “post-new crown syndrome”.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a “prolonged new crown” as a variety of new, recurring or persistent health problems that may occur in people 4 weeks or more after they were first infected with the new coronavirus.
Typical symptoms include: systemic symptoms (eg, persistent fatigue, joint pain), cardiopulmonary symptoms (eg, dyspnea, cough, chest tightness, rapid heartbeat), neurological symptoms (eg, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, anxiety and depression), Gastrointestinal symptoms (eg, abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin irritation) and loss of smell and taste.
Since the “long new crown” entered the medical field after the infected people reported collectively on social media, there is still no exact statistics on the number of patients. In May of this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated after analyzing 63.4 million electronic medical record records that nearly one in five U.S. adults infected with the new coronavirus developed symptoms of “long-term new crown”. The latest estimate of the American Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in June is that there are about 25 million “long new crown” patients in the United States.
Estimates released by the Office for National Statistics are equally striking. Statistics show that as of May 1 this year, at least 2 million people in the UK have symptoms of “long-term new crown”, and 400,000 of them have been “extremely restricted” in their daily lives. With the sharp rise in the number of new crown infections this summer, it is expected that the number of “long new crown” patients will continue to increase.
Many mainstream media in Europe and the United States have warned that the existence of millions of “long-term new crown” patients is becoming another potential public health crisis.
The mystery of the “long new crown”
The pathogenic mechanism of “long new crown” is still a mystery to be solved.
The famous scientific journal “Science” published a long report on June 16, “Following the “Long New Crown” Clues, which introduced the latest research results of experts in Italy, the United States and Australia, and believed that the three possible causes of the “long new crown” symptoms are: New crown The virus causes clots in the blood, the new coronavirus persists in the body for a long time after recovery, and infection with the virus causes the immune system to mutate.
The Mayo Clinic, a well-known medical institution in the United States, believes that the cause of the “long new crown” symptoms may be the damage to the heart, kidneys, skin, brain and other organs as well as the immune system after infection with the virus.
”It’s unclear how long these consequences last, but we found that in some cases, ‘coronavirus’ further triggered new symptoms, such as diabetes and heart and neurological problems,” the Mayo Clinic noted.
What they call “neurological problems” is the lingering “nightmare” of some “coronavirus” patients – cognitive impairment, commonly known as “Covid brain fog”.
Some studies have shown that nearly a quarter of people infected with the new crown will experience persistent cognitive impairment: poor concentration, impaired memory, information processing speed and executive function. The latest research by a team from Stanford University and Yale University in the United States found that the symptoms of cognitive impairment in patients with “long new crown” are very similar to those in cancer therapists (the latter is often referred to in medicine as “chemo brain”).
”New crown brain fog”, similar to “chemo brain”, can cause anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and persistent fatigue, making it difficult for patients to return to normal living and occupational levels.
The British medical research team compared the currently known data and found that some specific groups have a higher proportion of “long new crown” symptoms.
Alan Thompson, a researcher at King’s College in the United Kingdom, conducted a survey of 6,907 people who self-reported infection with the new crown virus and found that people who were older, obese, female, and had a history of mental health and asthma before the epidemic were more likely to develop “long-term new crown virus”. “.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that people aged 35-69, women, people living in poorer areas and people with other restrictive health conditions or disabilities are more likely to have symptoms of “long new crown”. From the perspective of occupation, workers in the fields of social security, education and medicine are also high-risk groups of “long new crown”.
It should be pointed out that because the research is still in the early stage, the definition of “long new crown” varies in different countries – the US CDC’s standard is that there are still persistent symptoms 4 weeks after the new coronavirus infection, and the British standard is is 12 weeks. But in any case, the “long new crown” has become a widespread social problem in Europe and the United States that cannot be ignored.
“Mass Health Deterioration Event”
”The Atlantic Monthly” pointed out that the “long new crown” should be regarded as a “massive health deterioration event” with significant historical impact, the impact of which has not been fully reflected in government statistics, but the consequences will be slow in the days to come. emerge slowly.
As early as a year ago in the summer of 2021, when Delta was raging, the American Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation issued a warning that more than 11 million Americans had been afflicted by the “long new crown”. The Institute’s tally board is updated daily, and the number is now as high as 25 million.
But that number may still be an underestimate — it’s based on a percentage that 30 percent of people infected with Covid-19 develop long-term symptoms.
In fact, too many infections in the U.S. go unreported. Serological tests for antibodies show that as of February 2022, 187 million Americans have been infected with the new coronavirus. Based on this calculation, at least 56 million people in the United States, or 1/6 of the total population, are patients with “long new crown”.
That said, there may be as many as 50 million-plus Americans who continue to experience extreme exhaustion, difficulty breathing, and cognitive impairment long after contracting the virus. Even if the 30% ratio is an overestimate, even if only 10%, 5% or even 2% of the people are trapped in the “long new crown”, there are still millions of patients in the United States, “has become a specific part of the society. crowd”.
To make matters worse, the “long-term new crown” is difficult to diagnose and has no effective treatment due to its short duration and varying symptoms and severity, making it even more difficult to apply for social subsidies.
Houston flight attendant and yoga instructor Lisa Fisher, 38, contracted COVID-19 in June 2020, but still suffers from neurological problems, fatigue and allergic reactions, severely limiting her daily activities.
After contracting the new crown, Lisa took sick leave and has not been able to return to work. In December 2020, she applied for the government disability benefit and received it six months later. However, according to her, many of the “long-term new crown” patients she knows have applied for government disability subsidies based on the “curve” of diagnosis of other diseases, because “long-term new crown” is not a reasonable reason to apply.
”The shock it brings will overwhelm the nation’s healthcare system and cast a shadow over economic growth for years to come,” warns The Atlantic.
Danny Altman, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London and an expert on the “long new crown”, also pointed out that the numbers have sounded the alarm, “thinking that the “long new crown” is just a temporary phenomenon in the early stage of the new crown pandemic, with the popularization of vaccination and The idea that milder variants appear and fade away is clearly false.”
Professor Altman bluntly said that with such a large number of people in society who are continuously unhealthy or even disabled, they may lose their jobs and quality of life. The future medical expenses are difficult to estimate, which is an “unprecedented national burden”. “There is a need for a national and even global public policy discussion on this.”
When the “long new crown” research is still in the early stage, the pathogenic mechanism is yet to be understood, and the duration is not clear, some patients feel that they “can’t wait”.
The British medical journal BMJ and ITV recently teamed up to film a group of “transnational blood washers” – these patients suffering from the “long new crown”, spent huge sums of money to go to private clinics in Germany, Switzerland and Cyprus, accepting high prices and unexplainable costs. A scientifically proven “blood wash” therapy to hopefully restore health.
”Bloodwashing” therapy is based on the hypothesis that the symptoms of “long COVID-19” are caused by clots in the blood, and attempts to remove blood clots by “bloodwashing”. During the treatment, a needle is inserted into the arm to draw blood, and the blood is passed through a filter to separate the red blood cells from the plasma. The filtered plasma is recombined with the red blood cells and injected back into the body through another vein.
The Dutch psychiatrist Bumeister, who was filmed on the show, is a serious “long-term new crown” patient. After two unsuccessful attempts to return to work, he was forced to resign in November 2021. When she learned about the “blood washing” therapy from a “facebook” group of “long new crown” patients, she decided to take a risk.
She chose the “long-term new crown treatment center” in Cyprus, where she stayed for more than two months and received 6 rounds of “blood washing” (each cost 1,685 euros, about 11,600 yuan), 9 rounds of high pressure Oxygen therapy (each cost 150 euros, about 1035 yuan), intravenous infusion of vitamins in the private clinic next door, plus travel and accommodation costs, a total of more than 50,000 euros (about 345,000 yuan). Unfortunately, the symptoms did not improve after the treatment ended.
Even so, Bumeister was helpless, as she was required to sign a consent form before accepting the “blood wash” to waive any claims for any personal injury, loss or death that the “Chang New Crown Treatment Center” “may cause” “.
Chris Witham, a 45-year-old businessman from Bournemouth, UK, sold his house to go to Germany to “wash blood” and his symptoms also failed to improve.
Due to the high cost of “blood washing” treatment, many patients have to raise funds on crowdfunding websites.
In January 2022, Martin Jacques, a well-known British scholar, revealed on social media that his son Ravi suffered from “long new crown”, the main symptom is persistent fatigue, and he needs to stay in bed for 16 hours every day. Ravi has tried hyperbaric oxygen therapy, but the effect is limited.
Jacques said his son’s health became “a huge dark cloud in life”. He further believes that what happened to his son is the result of the severe failure of the British strategy to deal with the new crown virus – “the failure of Western countries’ response to the new crown epidemic pandemic policy is not only reflected in the death toll, but also in the lack of long-term measures to deal with the new crown virus”.
David Stern, a professor of medicine at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, also told the Guardian: “When the British government formulated the new crown policy, it only focused on the hospitalization rate and the mortality rate (does not care about the infection rate), so the ‘long new crown’ case So much is not surprising at all.”
Laila Moran, head of the British Parliament’s new crown virus cross-party group, said: “The government should no longer bury its head in the sand. The ‘coronavirus’ must be urgently listed as an occupational disease , and a formal policy for employers to increase funding for research into treatments.”