Scientists are discovering new symptoms associated with long COVID. The latest long COVID complaints might get more attention than many of the others. That’s because they impact people in ways they really care about: sex and vanity. A large study from the United Kingdom may change the way some people think about the consequences of the coronavirus (Nature Medicine, July 25, 2022).
Have Most People Stopped Caring About COVID?
We are just back from a family reunion near Lake Michigan. Judging from our experience, most people have stopped worrying about catching COVID. My informal attitude assessment suggests that more than 90% of people traveling are not wearing masks. That’s in airplane terminals and on airplanes and rental car buses. Some relatives arrived by train and they reported similar behavior there.
We also went shopping for groceries. The overwhelming majority of people seemed unconcerned about the continuing spread of COVID-19.
As I write this, there were 139,426 cases reported on May 27, 2022. That is almost certainly an undercount, since most people are now doing home testing and not reporting the results of their positive tests. The average number of daily deaths over the last week was more than 400.
Long COVID Complaints Continue to Mount:
Doctors have developed a bunch of names for long COVID. They include:
• Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC)
• Post-Acute Sequelae SARS-CoV-2 (PASC)
• Long-Haul COVID
• Long COVID
• Post-COVID Syndrome (PCS)
• Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome (PACS)
Epidemiologists estimate that between 10 and 30 percent of people who experience a SARS-CoV-2 infection suffer with persistent problems including impairment of the sense of smell, fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle or joint pain.
People seem not to worry about these long-lasting complications of COVID even though they create a tremendous amount of disability for those affected. Why else would people be so casual about shopping, traveling and socializing indoors?
Maybe New COVID Complaints Will Capture Attention:
Researchers in the UK analyzed data from people at least 12 weeks after a COVID infection that did not require hospitalization. Nearly 500,000 people were included and matched to individuals who had not been infected.
They reported a surprising range of 62 symptoms that were much more common among those who had been infected. The most common were problems with the sense of smell, hair loss, sneezing, trouble ejaculating, reduced sex drive, shortness of breath without exertion and fatigue.
Did your eyes glaze over with that list of side effects? That’s not surprising. Most people lose interest after the first couple of adverse reactions. Why else would drug companies embrace the lost list of complications that are included in virtually every prescription drug commercial you see on television? The advertising geniuses at big Pharma have figured out that people care far more about the exciting activities they portray than the scary side effects the announcer rattles off.
Just in case you missed them, the new long COVID study identified hair loss and sexual dysfunction as common post-COVID difficulties. Would the men and women we see ignoring COVID cautions be a tad more careful if they thought they would start losing their hair due to long-haul COVID?
What about libido? If there were signs in supermarkets, airports and restaurants that catching COVID could lead to sexual complications, would people be just a little more careful? Probably not. But it might be worth a try.
Other Long COVID Complaints:
In case you don’t care about hair loss or sexual dysfunction, what about brain fog? There are over 60 other adverse reactions associated with long COVID including:
• Shortness of breath and phlegm
• Nasal congestion
• Cognitive symptoms
• Mouth ulcers
• Body aches
We doubt that any of these long COVID complications will change behavior. Most people assume that such adverse reactions won’t impact them. We hope, however, that the possibility of loss of libido, ejaculatory problems and hair loss might make some people think twice before engaging in risky behaviors.
You can learn more about long COVID at this link.
Please share your own experience with long COVID in the comment section below.