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Beyond immediate death count: Long Covid and blood clots: Covid-19 as a blood clot disease

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19 is not just a disease that kills you or lets you get off scot-free and okay. That is not how this virus works.

This disease is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

Most people who get infected suffer painful, debilitating, and scary symptoms. It becomes hard to breathe for long periods of time; many survivors report feeling like they were being suffocated.  During these episodes their blood oxygen levels drop, which causes biochemical stress in many organs in their bodies,

Although less than 1% of the infected victims quickly die, that does not mean that this disease should be dismissed as being otherwise safe. A death rate of 1% is wildly higher than any other viral pandemic that has hit the United States since The Spanish flu, the 1918 flu pandemic. The United States of America has a population of over three hundred million people. This means that if left unchecked, Covid-19 is expected to kill three million Americans – comparable to the death toll scale of

Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge Cambodian genocide, in which 1.5 to 2 million Cambodians were killed.

Turkey’s genocide of Armenians, in which 800,000 to 1 million Armenians were killed.

The Shoah (Holocaust) in which six million Jewish people were killed.

As such, beware of the misleading claim that “the death toll is only 1%, which is low.” The above comparisons help us understand the magnitude of the devastation.

The disability and further death toll will be much higher than this. How so? Covid-19 doesn’t just hurt the lungs. It is an endothelial blood clot disease that often produces huge numbers of tiny blood clots. Many patients have blood clots in the legs, lungs, and cerebral arteries leading to the brain. Likely other locations as well.

These blood clots lead to

* strokes
* encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
* heart attacks
* inflammation of the heart
* deep vein thromboses in the legs
* clots in the lungs
* stroke-causing clots in cerebral arteries.
* pain, shortness of breath
* fatigue, dizziness due to lack of oxygen to the brain
* kidney failure
* degradation of kidney dialysis; clots can clog kidney dialysis machines.

Doctors have already documented short term neurological damage, even in so-called asymptomatic people; it is considered likely that there is long-term neurological damage as well.

“If you start to put all of the data together that’s emerging, it turns out that this virus is probably a vasculotropic virus, meaning that it affects the [blood vessels],” says Mandeep Mehra, MD, medical director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center. In a paper published in April in the scientific journal The Lancet, Mehra and a team of scientists discovered that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can infect the endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels.

Endothelial cells protect the cardiovascular system, and they release proteins that influence everything from blood clotting to the immune response. In the paper, the scientists showed damage to endothelial cells in the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and intestines in people with Covid-19.
– Covid-19 May Be a Blood Vessel Disease, Dana G. Smith

How covid attacks the brain

Many patients who are hospitalized for COVID-19 are discharged with symptoms such as those associated with a brain injury….

COVID-19 also appears to produce many other brain-related symptoms ranging from seizures to psychosis, a team reports in the Jan. 5 issue of the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia. The team, which included de Erausquin, says severe COVID-19 may even increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

For many affected patients, brain function improves as they recover. But some are likely to face long-term disability, de Erausquin says.

… “What we found was that the very small blood vessels in the brain were leaking,” Nath says. “And it wasn’t evenly — you would find a small blood vessel here and a small blood vessel there.” The injuries resembled those from a series of tiny strokes occurring in many different areas of the brain, Nath says.

Microvascular Injury in the Brains of Patients with Covid-19 Letters, New England Journal of Medicine, Myoung-Hwa Lee et al, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2033369

How COVID-19 Attacks The Brain And May Cause Lasting Damage, Jon Hamilton, Shots: NPR Health News, 1/5/2021

The chronic neuropsychiatric sequelae of COVID‐19: The need for a prospective study of viral impact on brain functioning, Gabriel A. de Erausquin et al, Alzheimer’s & Dementia [journal,] 1/5/2021,  https://doi.org/10.1002/alz.12255

 

Doctors agree that

(a) merely surviving the disease doesn’t mean that one is okay; many people will suffer from these dangerous and painful  episodes

(b) Many people currently called survivors will likely die many years, or even decades, earlier than they would have, due to the blood clots and endothelial damage. The full death toll of Covid-19 may be two, three. even five times higher than is currently described.

How to protect ourselves

Learn, gather knowledge, e.g. Covid 19 is an airborne virus

Wearing masks – Unmasking mask myths

Social distancing

Washing hands frequently

Zinc supplements and coronaviruses, rhinoviruses, common cold

Vaccinations

Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker, Bloomberg

References

What Does COVID Do to Your Blood? John Hopkins Medicine, Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., M.H.S. and Robert Brodsky, M.D.

Covid-19 May Be a Blood Vessel Disease, Which Explains Everything, Dana G. Smith, Elemental, 5/29/2020

How COVID-19 Attacks The Brain And May Cause Lasting Damage, Jon Hamilton, Shots: NPR Health News, 1/5/2021

 


1 Comment

  1. […] This is pretty much the ‘worst case’ scenario of any similar disease seen. Not a simple ‘flu’ my friends and taking precautions (wearing a mask, physical distancing, building our immunity) is a “must do.” Take a quick read. Kaiser Science. […]

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