Thursday, April 27, 2023

COVID Update: Life Expectancy, Long Covid, and World Immunization Week

We got our semi-annual booster today so Covid is on my mind tonight. 
It's still hard to grasp the impact of the Covid pandemic worldwide until you realize how many millions have died, with millions more left to mourn. 
In Forbes magazine, healthcare analysis Joshua Cohen writes about Covid 19's enormous death toll:
Thus far, recorded Covid-19 deaths worldwide are at 6.86 million. This is likely an underestimate, given the underreporting of fatalities in countries, such as China. More importantly, based on excess mortality calculations there’s mounting evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a massive toll on global life expectancy. Not since the famine in China in 1959, have we seen such a sharp decline in life expectancy worldwide.
...In sum, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to global increases in mortality and declines in period life expectancy that are without precedent in modern times. Historically, countries have generally recovered within two years from mortality shocks, such as the 1918-20 influenza pandemic and the two world wars. And so, we can expect many countries to soon return to pre-Covid-19-pandemic life expectancy. However, each country’s ability to bounce back differs, and some, like the U.S., will likely have more trouble than others because of underlying health trends that had been in place before the pandemic. 
Though Canada's life expectancy also declined in 2020, it didn't plummet like the US did.
As well as the grief of Covid itself, millions are dealing with the debilitating effects of Long Covid. In The Atlantic, Ed Yong describes the magnitude of the problem:
... long COVID is a substantial and ongoing crisis—one that affects millions of people. However inconvenient that fact might be to the current “mission accomplished” rhetoric, the accumulated evidence, alongside the experience of long haulers, makes it clear that the coronavirus is still exacting a heavy societal toll. 
 As it stands, 11 percent of adults who’ve had COVID are currently experiencing symptoms that have lasted for at least three months, according to data collected by the Census Bureau and the CDC through the national Household Pulse Survey. That equates to more than 15 million long-haulers, or 6 percent of the U.S. adult population. 
Yong also notes in this article society's determination to minimize or deny that Long Covid will be a problem: 
 ...long COVID is a huge impediment to the normalization of COVID. It’s an insistent indicator that the pandemic is not actually over; that policies allowing the coronavirus to spread freely still carry a cost; that improvements such as better indoor ventilation are still wanting; that the public emergency may have been lifted but an emergency still exists; and that millions cannot return to pre-pandemic life. “Everyone wants to say goodbye to COVID,” Duggal told me, “and if long COVID keeps existing and people keep talking about it, COVID doesn’t go away.” The people who still live with COVID are being ignored so that everyone else can live with ignoring it.

The WHO is now giving this advice:

It's World Immunization Week this week: Finally, here's something I'll bet you didn't know -- on April 26, 1954, the first Salk polio vaccine trials began.


Cap said...

Before the pandemic, vaccine rejection was pretty much confined to small communities of religious zealots and lefty New Agers duped by a bogus study linking vaccines to autism (think RFK Jr and Jenny McCarthy). Now, vaccine rejection is mainstream conservative dogma, even though the covid vaccines were approved by the Trump administration. Amazing how quickly the Fox News Cinematic Universe and social media engagement algorithms can shift public opinion.

Cathie from Canada said...

What I do not understand is WHY they have made such an emotional investments in either denying that Covid exists or asserting that the vaccines aren't safe, or both. Its very sad really.