“Now we have tested over 40 million people. We show cases, 99 percent of which are totally harmless.”

—Donald Trump on July 4

“Covid is a tornado with a very long tail.I’m still discovering new areas of damage.”

—Richard Quest, CNN host

and coronavirus “long hauler”

At his Dec. 8 vaccine summit, soon to be Ex-President Trump declared that the U.S. was approaching herd immunity because 15 percent of Americans had tested positive. Experts, however, say that herd immunity is more accurately reached at 70 percent, and furthermore, as natural antibodies last on average five months, only a vaccine will give complete protection.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has insisted that “herd immunity is not the strategy of the U.S. government,” but in a July 4 memo Paul Alexander, one of Azar’s top deputies, urged the “deliberate infection of infants, kids, teens, young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions. We will use them to develop herd immunity. We want them infected.”

Not only would millions of Americans die because of this insane policy, but tens of thousands would suffer serious post-coronavirus illnesses. Dr. John Brooks, the CDC’s chief medical officer, predicted that long-term symptoms would affect “tens of thousands in the U.S. and possibly hundreds of thousands.”

In early December, Dr. Brooks joined other specialists at a two-day conference on “long haul” COVID-19 and heard about one study that found “50 percent of non-ICU patients reported a significant change to their cognitive functioning,” and other research found that the same percentage of “asymptomatic COVID-19 infections caused damage to the lungs.”

Using advanced imaging techniques, British doctors found that all the 40 COVID-19 patients they examined had weakened lung function. At Northwestern Medicine in Chicago surgeons have already performed six double lung transplants on “long haulers.”

In May, CNN host Richard Quest had mild virus symptoms and was not hospitalized. Over the summer he experienced waves of dry cough, cognitive issues, extreme fatigue and severe clumsiness. He thought at least he was now immune from the virus, but his antibody levels are now so low that they give a negative test for reinfection.

In her article “Whipped by the Long Tail of the Coronavirus,” writer Jodie Vinson describes her months-long struggle with post-coronavirus illness. She says that “it’s a grit-your-teeth kind of pain. It grips me around the ribs like a corset. There’s the sharp, fleeting pain that flutters through my lungs, stabbing below the breast, then near my heart.”Dr. Melissa Geraghty reports that “COVID-19 seems to have taken up permanent residence within my body. There’s no telling which symptoms will become more significant or difficult, or if new ones will randomly appear. I don’t yet know the extent of damage that has been wrought on my body.”

Brain fog is the most common psychological symptom of long haulers, but dozens have developed severe psychotic symptoms. Described as “new-onset psychosis,” it is appearing in middle-aged coronavirus survivors, which is rare in traditional psychotic cases. Bronx doctor Vilma Gabbay treated a “man who heard voices and believed he was the devil, and a woman who began carrying a knife, disrobing in front of strangers, and putting hand sanitizer in her food.”

On Dec. 3, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that 1,460,905 children had tested positive for the virus. After experiencing virus symptoms for several weeks, 3-year-old Colt Parris suffered a stroke.

The family physician stated that children “have more systemic problems involving their hearts, which can be life long.”

Just as concerning are the children diagnosed with coronavirus-related Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C), which has, as of Dec. 4, affected 1,288 children and caused 23 deaths. The Montpelier, Idaho, school district does not require masks for in-person schooling, so it should be no surprise that 12-year-old Cooper Wuthrich came down with MIS-C.

A Salt Lake City pediatric cardiologist, who attended Cooper, warned: “We need to take it seriously, because we don’t know the long-term effects on the child’s body, the heart, the other organ systems.”

Young coronavirus long haulers — what a deeply distressing thought. Remember when Dear Leader Trump declared: “Don’t Be Afraid”?

Nick Gier is professor emeritus at the University of Idaho.Read his columns on the virus at nfgier.com (search: “coronavirus”).Email him at ngier006@gmail.com.

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