Before the pandemic was declared, we learned that COVID-19 was only fatal to the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions. The world (for the most part) sprung into action (or inaction as the case may be) in order to protect what came to be known as ‘our most vulnerable’. We were taught that everyone else would have little or no symptoms, and for those who were symptomatic, it would be like a really bad flu, but that the young and healthier among us would ‘get through it’.
Six months later, I would contend that it is time to shift the paradigm.
Six months later, the government and by extension, the media, are doing a huge disservice by continuing to use death as the barometer by which we gauge the risk associated with COVID-19.
Because six months into this thing we now know that our original beliefs were mistaken and that the younger ‘less vulnerable’ population is still very much at risk of serious complications from COVID-19 even though they are not at great risk of death.
Dr. Arruda finally acknowledged in last Friday’s press conference ‘Even if you were not hospitalized you can be with sequelae for a very long time. Even if you are a young person who wants to do sports, you can have problems with breathing and everything. It doesn’t mean that because you are not hospitalized that there are not going to be consequences’ He said this right after Minister Dubé explained that a younger COVID-19 ‘survivor’ with a tracheotomy was chosen to be featured in the most recent governmental advertisement ‘because it represents what we were not even thinking about few months ago’. (Watch clip below at the 42 minute mark)
That’s right…Because Six months ago-they were not thinking that COVID-19 would have any lasting impact on younger, healthier people. COVID-19 was ‘marketed’ as dangerous and potentially fatal to the elderly and medically vulnerable and as simply an inconvenience for all others. For 6 months many citizens stepped up to the plate to protect those seniors and those deemed vulnerable.
Six months later, that message is misleading.
We are learning more and more about how there are long-term effects for many COVID-19 ‘survivors’ across all age groups. I have personally interviewed two such individuals (in their 40’s) who have ‘recovered’ from COVID-19. One of them was in self-isolation in the same room of her home for 49 days. Now, MONTHS past her ‘recovery’, she is still suffering from long term effects. In addition to pulmonary and neurological effects, she has had to deal with effects such as her heart rate going from 56 to 124 for absolutely NO REASON while resting on the couch, watching television.
She is not alone.
She knows this because the doctors have told her that she is not alone. That’s how they know that these are COVID after-effects – because they are seeing so many other ‘recovered COVID-19 patients experiencing the same thing.
You’ve likely heard chatter about the risk of blood clots, but did you know that there is even evidence of Diabetes Type 1 as an ‘after effect’ in CHILDREN and TEENS? (with no prior history of diabetes, by the way): New-Onset Diabetes in Covid-19.
An article that seems to resonate with younger people is this one…perhaps because it involves the after-effects on healthy, university athletes who were neither elderly nor vulnerable prior to testing positive for COVID-19: 4 out of 26 College/ University athletes (with no pre-existing medical conditions) showed signs of myocarditis after recovering from COVID-19 .
While there is no question that we must continue to protect our seniors and those with pre-existing medical conditions, I think that we need a real paradigm shift.
The increase in cases is coming from the younger population and the younger population needs to understand what’s at stake for THEM.
For the purpose of clarity: in the context of COVID-19, the ‘younger people’ does not only refer to teens and young adults. The 30 and 40-somethings are very much guilty of the same mentality…if for no other reason than because this is how COVID-19 was originally ‘marketed’ to them.
Teens and young adults think that parents who are insisting on distancing are over-reacting because they were told from DAY 1 that this virus was not dangerous for them.
COVID-19 needs to be rebranded.
Not for the purpose of fear-mongering, but for the purpose of imparting understanding on those who are (understandably) fed up and feel that ‘if I get it, I get it’.
As I said to my teens:
‘I know that you think that I am crazy and over-reacting. What I need you to know is that while I certainly do not want any of us to die from COVID, the risk of death is not the risk that is concerning us most. There can be long term effects that Daddy and I don’t want you to get, and even if you don’t care about yourselves, WE don’t want to get those long term effects either. We don’t want to live the rest of our lives with heart or lung or neurological or other issues, G-d forbid.’
This post is not intended to instil fear, this post is intended to enlighten those who don’t realize what the actual risks are because the original ‘marketing message’ of ‘only dangerous for the elderly and the vulnerable’ has stuck.
An additional reminder that we must all keep in mind the rapidly increasing burden on our healthcare system, if the system becomes overloaded- everyone will suffer.
I write this to encourage everyone to to do their best to avoid getting the virus. By the way, when you try to avoid getting it, you also tend to avoid spreading it to other individuals as well. BONUS.
The next time you hear someone talking about how all of this is to protect the elderly or the medically vulnerable…please enlighten them as to how 6 months later we have learned that COVID-19 carries with is risk beyond death that can affect even the healthiest of individuals for months after recovery, perhaps even for the rest of their lives.
It’s not just about the risk of death- it’s about the risk to our quality of LIFE.
Stay safe everyone.