Long Covid expert: all infections have "prolonged consequences"

If it seems like everyone you know is sicker now than ever before, it's not just your imagination. A recent analysis by Bloomberg and Airfinity revealed that at least 13 communicable diseases—including tuberculosis, measles, pertussis, polio, influenza, RSV, chickenpox, invasive group A streptococcus, mycoplasma pneumoniae, parvovirus B19, dengue, and cholera—are "surging past pre-pandemic levels in regions across the world." Bloomberg explains:

Bloomberg's analysis, done with London-based disease forecasting firm Airfinity Ltd., collated data from more than 60 organizations and public health agencies. The research also found that 44 countries and territories have a reported resurgence in one or more infectious diseases that's at least ten times worse than the pre-COVID baseline.

Cases of Dickensian-era whooping cough — known for coughing fits so violent that some people break their ribs — have climbed by 45 times in China in the first four months compared with last year. Measles — declared eliminated in the US in 2000 — is making a comeback in more than 20 American states, and is rising in the UK and parts of Europe.

While this rise is certainly attributable to multiple factors, including vaccine hesitancy and climate change, Dr. David Putrino, Director of Rehabilitation Innovation for the Mount Sinai Health System, and a Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, recently discussed the issue with Chris Cuomo as part of Cuomo's ongoing series on COVID and Long COVID and emphasized one important cause: COVID-19 infections.

In the episode, Cuomo asked, "What's behind the post-sickness surge? The vaccine? Immunity suppression? Long Covid?" and Dr. Putrino very clearly answered that SARS-CoV-2 infections have absolutely played a role in the recent surges of illnesses. In the interview Dr. Putrino describes the relationship between SARS-CoV-2, illness, and decreasing levels of immunity:

"We need to be very, very firm with our messaging that there is no such thing as a mild SARS-CoV-2 infection. There is no such thing as a SARS-CoV-2 infection that does NOT have prolonged consequences. Until we can fully understand the long-term effects of COVID and who is susceptible and who is not, the only thing that we can do to protect ourselves, our families, our immune systems in the long term is to avoid infection . . .

"Even mild COVID infections seem to affect the way that your natural killer cells attack infections. It seems to affect the way that our T-cells attack infections and protect us from infections. So, I think one of the notions that we actually need to challenge is that for the longest time we've told people that if you get an illness and you recover, it just makes you stronger. What we're seeing over and over again is that's not the case with COVID. Every time you get a COVID infection, your immune system seems to suffer. It's kind of like a boxer, every fight takes a little bit more out of them. And they're not getting stronger with every fight, they're not getting stronger with every hit that they take. Every single time there's an increased chance that something bad is going to happen to the immune system and I think that this influx of illness that we're seeing is related to that."

COVID-19 is on the rise again, so please stay safe, friends! Help keep yourself and your communities healthy by masking up, cleaning the air with HEPA filters or Corsi-Rosenthal boxes, avoiding crowds, and testing for COVID and staying home when sick.