It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over: The ‘End’ of the Pandemic and Long COVID

Over the weekend, CBS 60 Minutes aired an interview with Biden, in which he proclaimed “the pandemic is over.” Leaving aside all of the ways this is harmful, such as ‘why should I get a booster, especially if I had side effects, now that the pandemic is over?’, what I found frustrating was Scott Pelle’s inability to ask Biden about long COVID.

In fairness, the entire political press corps along with celebrity journalists don’t ask about long COVID. But it’s getting really enraging. The point isn’t to ‘ding’ Biden (though if that motivates hacks to ask the question, I can work with that), but to get an answer about long COVID. I haven’t seen much polling on the issue, but my sense–not just my personal vibes–is that people who are still being conscientious about mask wearing are motivated in no small part by a desire to avoid long-term or permanent illness. Given the frequency of long COVID in vaccinated and boosted people–as best as I can tell, one percent is the rough lower bound (a paper I’ll discuss tomorrow suggests that could be higher)–you are not the weirdo if you’re trying to avoid getting (re-)infected.

You’re not. America, in the Year 2022 of Our Gritty, is not a place you want to be disabled, even temporarily.

The pandemic isn’t over until we have the ability to dramatically lower the prevalence of long COVID–and, of course, one way to do this is to lower the prevalence of COVID infections.

Regardless of what one thinks about Fauci, he was absolutely right about one thing: the virus makes the timeline. That includes our ability to respond to it.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

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