The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Every Covid Infection Does More Damage & Makes You Less Healthy and More Likely to Die

Okay. From very early on in the plague, I’ve been saying getting infected multiple times was a terrible idea, and a worse plan.

The key to being right in advance is being willing to run before things are completely proven, but when they are obvious. It was obvious that reinfections were terrible for people. Now the firm data is coming in. (Read the entire thing here.

“Compared to those with no reinfection, those who had reinfection exhibited an increased risk of all-cause mortality” of over 2x those with no reinfection. Three times for hospitalization, heart problems, and blood clotting. There was also increased incidence of diabetes, fatigue, kidney problems, mental health disorders, musculoskeletal problems, neurologic disorders, and lung problems.

I mean, one might be tempted to just say, “Reinfection makes you more likely to have all health problems,” and not be too far wrong. It may be that things get better, but this study found increased risks right out to six months, which is as far as it studied.

Bonus! As I’ve said almost right from the start, each reinfection makes things worse.

Every time you get infected by Covid, it has a chance to do even more damage, and if that damage heals after the acute phase, it’s damn slow — if.

Now, let’s talk about “immunity debt.” The way the immune system works isn’t like going to the gym, and slowly getting stronger by lifting heavier weights. Instead, it’s like cops or customs agents with mug shots. “If you see this guy, shoot him.” One thing Covid does to evade immunity is mess up the mug shots so that they aren’t recognized. This means that you get other diseases after Covid, to which you were previously immune — because it’s messed up the recognition system. This is probably a big part of why there are so many auto-immune disorders popping up in Covid survivors; mess up the mug shots enough, and the immune system will start going after innocent civilians, i.e., parts of your own body. (Having had  ulcerative colitis when I was young, I can tell you this can be more not-fun than most of you can imagine.)

Getting Covid is very likely to make your immune system worse, not better, and the above is only one mechanism by which this is true.

Too much of the Covid debate has centered on vaccines, which were not, and are not, a silver-bullet. The best results have been in countries that took public health measure approaches, of which vaccines are only a small part.

But for you individually, the “takeaway” is simple: don’t get multiple infections. Don’t let your kids get multiple infections. No matter how strong the social pressure, short of “lose your job” (and maybe not even then, if you can easily get another), do not stop protecting yourself, whatever level you consider appropriate. (I don’t wear masks outside unless it’s a crowded locale, for example, and I keep my tiny apartment ventilated all times. Most people should have a HEPA air purifier running all the time where they live, and your employer should be doing something similar if you work inside.)

Covid is already causing a permanent reduction in lifespans and an increase in illness. It’s not just Covid infections clogging up hospitals, it’s people with other illnesses getting them at increased rates. Keep protecting yourself.

And remember, with proper public health measures, we probably could have ended this plague in the first four months or so. Our lords and masters chose not to. Stupid? Evil? Why not both? I have suspicions (Covid made them a lot richer), but at the end of the day, they were okay with you and the people you care about dying or having serious health problems, likely for the rest of your lives.

Remember how much they were and are willing to hurt and kill you. Remember, also, this goes for all parties in power or near power in most countries. This certainly isn’t significantly different between Democrats and Republicans in the US.



Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – November 13, 2022


How We Created A Population Incapable Of Radical Change


  1. Tallifer

    Perhaps the libertarian society of North America is trying to recreate the Black Death-fueled power of Germs and Steel.


    Your analysis is correct.

    And that is exactly why folks should be on immune strengtheners, anti-virals,
    and anti-inflamatories prophylactically:
    Quercetin, Zinc, Garlic Oil, Black Seed Oil, Ivermectin, Vit C., Vit. D3, Tumeric, NAC, etc. etc. .

  3. Keith in Modesto

    I’m one of only a few people (maybe 4) who still wears masks at work (of ~80), and the only one whose mask is an N95. This is in California (near but not in the SF Bay Area), where COVID prevalence is low, but not absent and may be starting to creep up. I’m feeling a growing sense of despair. Very few people seem to be taking this seriously. I can’t even talk to my younger brother about this anymore — it just devolves into culture war conspiracy theories and accusations that I’m merely virtue signaling. I’m so tired.

  4. Astrid

    As long as they get a nod from the authorities and their peers, people are remarkably lazy and content to throw their lives away on shiny baubles.

    My parents, who really really should know better, are currently on a plaguecruise ship crossing the Atlantic (so are my very sweet neighbors). I did everything I could to convince them to cancel the cruise, then provide N95 and betadine nasal sprays, and caution them about air circulation (at least they got a balcony room) and the need for a snug fit for N95.

    With the exception of a short visit to see a cousin’s new baby and a visit to see my in-laws, both of which were proceeded by request to our hosts to mask and self quarantine for 2 weeks, my parents are the only people that we don’t wear masks around. I have provided them with several gallon bags of Aura N95 masks since last fall. They’ve repeatedly told me that they do everything I tell them to do and that I’m being very shrill and tedious to keep repeating my proscriptions.

    On the drive to the airport, my dad fumbled around with the Aura mask he was handed. “Which side is up?” He asked.

  5. GlassHammer

    From the outside, surviving hard times looks like you are just doing a bunch of odd things that many don’t do.

    It won’t feel normal…. it just won’t.

    So do what you think is best and forget about Normalcy.

  6. anon

    Liberals and conservatives alike have given into the pandemic and no longer wear masks. I’ve been to liberal cities where 95% of people aren’t wearing masks. Our leaders at the city, state, and national levels have decided it is time to move on. It’s evil but also very stupid because they and their families too will eventually succumb to the virus at this rate. Good health care can only go so far in protecting someone who gets Covid dozens of times. I’ve met people who claimed to have gotten Covid more than three times, and they act like it’s no big deal because they are still here with no apparent health damage. Politicizing mask wearing is what I hate Trump most for but Biden put in no effort into advocating for long term mask-wearing and has stopped providing free masks and Covid tests to the public. What shocks me the most is that people are okay subjecting their spawn to Covid, RSV, and other illnesses rather than support masks in schools. This is a tragedy that will never end. Many of us will be wearing masks for the rest of our lives.

  7. capelin

    “Compared to those with no reinfection, those who had reinfection exhibited an increased risk of all-cause mortality” of over 2x those with no reinfection. Three times for hospitalization, heart problems and blood clotting. There was also increased incidence of diabetes, fatigue, kidney problems, mental health disorders, musculoskeletal problems, neurologic disorders and lung problems.”

    “One thing Covid does to evade immunity is mess up the mug shots so that it isn’t recognized. This means that you get other diseases after Covid you were previously immune to because it’s messed up the recognition system and it’s probably a big part of why there are so many auto-immune disorders popping up in Covid survivors: mess up the mug shots enough, and the immune system will start going after innocent civilians: parts of your own body. (Having had  ulcerative colitis when I was young, I can tell you this can be more not-fun than most of you can imagine.)”

    The novel mrna injections work by causing _one’s own’s body cells to manufacture _c19 spike protein, so that your immune system then reacts to and recognizes the virus based on something your own body manufactured… And could be continuing to make…

    There’s also the intersection of catching actual c19 in the same time window that your body is manufacturing franken-spike.

    The fact that the possible role the novel mrna technology and other ingredients in the injections play in all this carnage can not even be mentioned or considered; or that the most basic metrics in regards to this are neither collected nor disseminated – (ie, “long covid” – control group vs test), tells us that there’s something there, something that needs to be measured, mentioned and considered.

  8. Ian Welsh

    The damage occurs in people with no vaccination and in those with vaccinations, that was dealt with in the study linked.

    That said, I find it plausible mRNA cause some issues. At the time I said, publicly, that if I had had the option I would take Sputnik, not one of the mRNA vaccines.

  9. Tallifer

    @Jeremy who said, “And that is exactly why folks should be on immune strengtheners, anti-virals,
    and anti-inflamatories prophylactically:
    Quercetin, Zinc, Garlic Oil, Black Seed Oil, Ivermectin, Vit C., Vit. D3, Tumeric … ”

    Some of those things do contribute to general health, but none of them can decisively defeat an infection by a virus. (Worm medicine not among them.) Get vaccinated and boosted, wear a mask and spend as little time as necessary around infected people. Of course, generally healthy people, especially if not obese, experience less severe symptoms, but many strong youths have perished to corona virus, and more otherwise healthy people having been infected suffer from lingering effects.

  10. Ché Pasa

    I’ve only had Covid once — that I know of — and it was quickly controlled by Paxlovid. Or so we think. I caught the virus either in the ER or in the waiting room (I was there for six or seven hours.) when I went for assessment of other symptoms.

    I always wear a mask when out and about (not often the last several months), one of the few who do so these days, but those of us who do wear masks in public provide one another with knowing glances. Masking up will not necessarily prevent you from contracting the virus, but it can reduce your chances of getting it. I’m vaxxed and boosted and take various medications and supplements that are for other conditions but are supposed to reduce chances of catching Covid. They may or may not help.

    During physical therapy after release from the hospital, I was asked if I’d had Covid, and I said yes, in July. It was speculated that Covid had significantly worsened the condition that led to my hospitalization, and it was probably making my recovery slower than it otherwise might have been. I don’t know whether that’s the case, but recovery has been slow. Relapses seem to be frequent. But there’s no telling.

    I think we’ve known from the beginning of this pandemic that there were policies in place in the US and much of the West that did not and would not control the spread of the disease. Its deadly effects could and would be relatively confined to the old, the sick, the weak, the immune compromised, the poor, the “essentials”, the black and the brown. People with money and power would largely escape the most deadly effects of the disease.

    Nothing has changed — except for widely available vaccines and prophylactics that have generally reduced the death rate — in wealthy countries. Deaths may be down — though they are still too high — but the long term effects of the disease and the oft repeated contracting of it among certain populations are have consequences that have barely begun to be recognized. Labor shortages are only one.

    We’re not getting out of the Covid pandemic any time soon — if ever. And it seems clear that our rulers and their policies will ensure that’s the case for a long time to come.

  11. ibaien

    like all the culture bound illnesses of the west, i would offer that people who obsessively test for covid are generally unwell people who enjoy talking ad nauseam about how unwell they are. i work with over a hundred people and have hundreds more in my greater social network and zero have evinced any symptoms of long covid (zero have also been hospitalized with an acute infection). anecdotes are not data, but i should be hearing something by now. this whole fiasco is now simply the chronic lyme of our generation, another psychosomatic rationale for postcapitalist anomie.

  12. capelin

    Well, if nothing else the study “shows” that the injections make no difference other than a slightly higher overall death rate.

    First question I would have on this study (and it’s a big one) is “how is unvaccinated defined?”. Because it’s often defined as “two weeks after your injection”, which means any adverse effects (ie you also catch c19 while your body is making franken-spike) gets filed under “un-vaccinated”. and many adverse effects happen soon after the injections.

    Anyway, there’s that; combined with the pretty significant study limitations as noted by the authors below and the real numbers and picture could be pretty divergent.

    89 % of the study group was male, and 88% of the study group was over 39 years old.

    “There were 443,588 cohort participants with no SARS-CoV-2 reinfection (only a single SARS-CoV-2 infection) and 40,947 participants who had SARS-CoV-2 reinfection (two or more infections) (Extended Data Fig. 1); 5,334,729 participants with no record of positive SARS-CoV-2 infection were in the noninfected control group.

    The study has several limitations. The cohorts of people with one, two, three or more infections included those that had a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 and did not include those who may have had an infection with SARS-CoV-2 but were not tested; this may have resulted in misclassification of exposure since these people would have been enrolled in the control groups.

    If present in large numbers and if their true risk of adverse health outcomes is substantially higher than the noninfected controls, then this may have resulted in underestimation of the risks of reinfection.

    Although we leveraged several Veterans Affairs and non-Veterans Affairs data sources, our datasets may not have comprehensively captured care received outside the Veterans Affairs (including exposure (positive SARS-CoV-2), covariates (for example, vaccination) and outcomes), which may contribute to potential misclassification.

    Although the Veterans Affairs population which consists of those who are mostly older and male may not be representative of the general population, our cohorts included 10.3% women, which amounted to 589,573 participants, and 12% were under 38.8 years of age (the median age of the US population in 2021), which amounted to 680,358 participants.

    Subgroup analyses were not conducted by age, sex and race.”

  13. different clue


    Since I have been tested for coronavid only 2 times in the past 3 years, and both times upon the mandatory “recommendation” of workplace-connected health-watchdogs, I may not be in a position to talk about “obsessive” testing for coronavid. But still, I may yet ask, what is the threshhold between sensible testing and obsessive testing? How many tests might I have gotten over the last three years and still be on the sensible side of the line? How many tests might have pushed me into the Obsession Zone?

    What is your medical or professional qualification for deciding whether the symptoms a person is presenting with are the expression of a physical disease state as against the expression of a psychosomatic rationale for postcapitalist anomie?

    As someone who has never had Lyme Disease, would you advise me to consider it an expression of postcapitalist anomie psychosomatic rationale expression, especially if I were to get Long Lyme?

    And even though China is not yet “postcapitalist”, is the level of testing for coronavid in China driven by China’s own brand of psychosomatic rationale for China’s own brand of anomie? Why or why not?

    You offer a novel “theory” of coronavid, especially Long Coronavid. If your theory is truth based, perhaps you should offer it in a comments thread over at one of Lambert Strether’s ” Afternoon Water Cooler” posts, where he offers detailed coronavid-related material every afternoon. Your theory could be a ray of light in the gloom surrounding all those unhappy people over there.

    Finally, it is my deepestly held and most sincerely expressed with that you yourself come down with Life-Long Lyme Disease and Life-Long Covid , both at the same time, so that you may have some genuine fact-based personal experience of that whereof you speak.

    I say that in a spirit of love.

  14. different clue

    . . . ( “sincerely expressed with” should be “sincerely expressed wish” in the relevant sentence just above ) . . .

  15. Stormcrow

    This is very simple in concept, but socially it’s extremely difficult: you
    must always wear a mask when you are not utterly certain you’re in
    uncontaminated air

    I’m 72 years old, overweight, and I have a long sordid history of
    chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. So I started taking Covid
    drop-dead seriously from the time the symptoms and comorbidities became
    clear. The alternative, running an heightened risk of dropping dead
    myself, was unacceptable.

    I don’t really give a curse about the social costs because I was
    socially marginalized many decades ago and thus have very little to
    lose. So I don an elastomeric half-face mask with filters for
    particulates before I unlock my front door, and it stays on until I’m
    back in my apartment and the door is locked behind me. Period. No
    exceptions, no carveouts.

    I also get boosted whenever the opportunity is afforded me. All the
    vaccines in wide use so far confer immunity that starts waning sharply
    after 2-3 months, so periodic boosting is a no-brainer. And none of
    them confers “sterilizing” immunity, so relying on vaccines as your
    only protection borders on insanity. This is a problem that needs
    stacked mitigations. No problem: I used to do information security
    work, where the same caveat applied: use layered mitigations and take
    nothing whatsoever for granted, or your systems absolutely will be
    compromised sooner or later.

    But maintaining vaccine-conferred immunity is a tactical must-have. If
    you start digging into the reseach on the effect of vaccination on
    clinical outcomes, you will learn very shortly that your odds of of
    both hospitalization
    and death are decreased by more than an order of magnitude, simply by
    being fully vaccinated.

    Another tactical necessity is understanding and acceptance of the fact
    that for Covid, particularly after Omicron became the dominant strain,
    so called “natural immunity” simply does not exist. As Ian wrote in the
    OP, you can be reinfected over and over and over, and each time this
    happens you become more susceptible, not less, simce your immune system
    degrades with each reinfection.

    35 months into the pandemic and so far, I haven’t been tagged. While
    many people with far greater resources and far smaller tolerance of
    social inconvenience ended up with Long Covid, and some of them ended
    up dead.

    My limited experience tells me that this approach appears to work

  16. Jorge

    Where is evidence that Covid-19 disrupts the immune system’s existing antibody database?

    This has been shown for measles, in 2015, based on immunological data.

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