So, to reiterate how this works, each Covid infection has a good chance of doing damage to your body, especially to your brain, cardiovascular system and to your immune system, which does not become stronger, but rather disregulated and weakened against future infections, not just of Covid but of other diseases.

This damage may not be symptomatic, in which case you don’t have “Long Covid”, but it’s real. Each time you get re-infected there is a chance of more damage, and I’m almost entirely certain, an increased risk of Long Covid.

Long Covid itself can be mild, or it can be crippling. Millions of people now can’t work as a result and others are suffering and less able to work or to enjoy their lives.

We’ve had Covid as a pandemic now for about three years, and there is no end in sight. And yes, it’s still a pandemic even if the WHO has said “the emergency is over” and we’re all pretending it’s no big deal. In the US about six hundred people a day are still dying and that’s both certainly an under-count and doesn’t include deaths from things like heart attacks which are caused by Covid infections. Nor does it include people dying because hospitals are clogged up and it takes longer to get necessary care or diagnoses. (I’d say if one counted deaths where the death wouldn’t have happened without Covid its north of a thousand a day.)

Which leads to the social and political problem. We aren’t increasing health care staffing and funding to deal with a pandemic that never ends and with all the damaged people. We aren’t increasing help for people with disabilities or who can’t work or can work less. We are pretending that “the emergency is over” means we can go back to the world of 2019.

But we’ve decided to live with an ever-increasing number of disabled people, with a pandemic that never ends, and with an ever-increasing number of people with long term health problems caused by Covid, even if those people aren’t disabled. (Dead people are the least of the problem, from a social and political perspective, though not from a human one.)

Governments don’t want to pay for human welfare. They don’t want to pay to help the people the pandemic is hurting but not killing. They don’t want to increase the number of nurses and doctors and home care assistants and long term care facilities for disabled people who don’t live at home.

But more than that, I’m entirely certain that most governments will quietly put in places policies which make people harmed, but not killed by Covid, die faster, to get them off the books and reduce the strain and such increased costs as they can’t avoid.

Dead people are easy to deal with. People who are long term sick, not so much.

And even if you aren’t one of the people who are fucked up by Long Covid or sub-perceptual damage, this will effect you, because hospitals and other health care services remain slammed. You will get care later and worse care and delays stand a damn good chance of turning a problem which could have been handled easily into something much worse.

As with everything else in our society, you can pretend a problem isn’t real, or admit it is real and just do nothing, but the problem doesn’t go away because you ignore it. And if you ignore it long enough it can turn into complete catastrophe, as is true with climate change and ecological collapse, or as is true with all the problems caused by neoliberal policies (including, for Americans, the loss of their dominant world position and standard of living, something on the horizon if not fully here yet.)

As usual, this problem is exacerbated by the fact that the elites know that they personally will still get the very best care. But as with everything else, they won’t avoid the long term effects, because the Covid pandemic and thus increased levels of Long Covid and non-symptomatic but real damage will continue to accumulate in the population. Given how reinforcing cycles work, it is not hyperbole or exaggeration for effect to say that many societies may collapse under the strain of so much disabling and health damage.

But, if you don’t care about people, well, the solution is obvious: if they’re costing too much and enough money can’t be made off them, cull them.

And so it will be.

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