We have been counting up the reasons why it is not a good idea to let children catch the COVID virus in any of its insidious forms. PASC (post-acute sequelae SARS-CoV-2 infection), or Long COVID, is a tricky subject to discuss, because when people don’t believe the disease is a big deal in the first place, they are not inclined to sit still for any narrative about how it seems to go away, and then mysteriously returns later, perhaps even in worse form.
Doubters can be shown an article, like one that appeared in the journal Nature last April, about 73,000 research subjects who had COVID-19 but were not hospitalized. The scientific team followed them up for six months, and learned that during this period their death rate was significantly higher than the statistic for comparable people who had never had the virus. But doubters tend to dismiss and ignore certain things, and to not be moved by a sentence like this:
The Covid survivors experienced a vast array of long-term medical problems that they had never had before — not just lung issues from the respiratory effects of the virus, but symptoms that could affect virtually any organ system or part of the body, from neurological to cardiovascular to gastrointestinal.
A doubter does not want to hear from PASC expert Dr. Christian Sandrock, who has studied enough “Long Covid” patients to sort their chief symptoms into recognizable groups.
A bevy of problems caused by COVID
Heart inflammation goes under cardiovascular; abnormal pulmonary function and decreased exercise tolerance are respiratory. Chest pain and shortness of breath can appear under either of those main categories. The dermatologic category includes rashes, hair loss, and tooth loss. The neurological group is unpleasant, with “loss of smell and taste, sleep dysregulation, altered cognition and memory impairment.” Depression, anxiety, and mood changes come under psychiatric, while a category Dr. Sandrock calls constitutional encompasses “fatigue, brain fog, and not feeling like oneself.”
With patients enduring such a bizarre array of symptoms, there is no “one size fits all” treatment. There might be a need for cardiac, pulmonary, or cognitive rehabilitation therapy. At least five different types of medications might be considered. This is not a future to which children should be thoughtlessly consigned.
From Britain, the University of Exeter’s Dr. David Strain reminded the public that, based on his own observation, pediatric Long COVID cases were increasing. This led him to believe that the prevalence of PASC in children was probably being underestimated everywhere. At the same time Frances Simpson, parent of two children who caught the virus, told a reporter:
My daughter’s got Covid toes at the moment, which she only developed 11 months after getting Covid. She started complaining of her feet feeling painful and numb. It’s mad… Quite a lot of these children have the initial infection and can be asymptomatic, but then they start with symptoms of long Covid a month, two months, three months later. And the symptoms fluctuate. It’s a mystery — it’s very worrying.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Patients With Long Covid Face Lingering Worrisome Health Risks, Study Finds,” NYTimes.com, 04/22/21
Source: “Almost a third of people with ‘mild’ Covid-19 still battle symptoms months later, study finds,” CNN.com, 02/19/21
Source: “The race to cure long Covid, the world’s next health crisis,” TheTimes.co.uk, 04/24/21
Image by Navy Medicine/Public Domain