A Matter of When, Not If

Updates from the storm.

A Matter of When, Not If

There's a lot going on (like always). I'm going to start offering little news roundups along with my other work.

Let's jump in:

The pile of evidence continues to build that you don't want to catch Covid. Moderna recently released a report confirming that your odds of developing Long Covid go up with each infection, hovering at 40 percent by your third. (The report cites a number of studies we've seen before.) The highest rates are happening among the age group 35-49. Here's the info:

Long COVID Awareness Day: Amplifying the Patient Voice

To recap, we know that Long Covid refers to a range of chronic, post-infection illnesses that include viral persistence but also a deranged, weakened immune system, short term and long term brain damage, heart damage, liver damage, blood vessel damage, and damage to virtually every other organ system in the body. On top of that, we know that Covid ages you by shredding your telomeres. So, yes, the odds as well as the severity of this damage go up every time we get sick.

Here's a catalog of studies:

Here, you’ll see an embed for my raindrop collection, where I gather lists on different topics. My first list contains 300+ articles on the long-term health risks of Covid. You’ll also find information on indoor air quality, masks, and other mitigations. Click on the “more” button to open up the

As we also suspected, those free rapid tests we're getting don't do a very good job of detecting Covid at all. A study in Australia found that out of 26 different tests, only 6 were effective. The researchers were "shocked." That doesn't mean you should throw your rapid tests away, but it means that relying on those alone won't do much of anything to help anyone at this stage. It also suggests that our governments have all taken Trump's initial approach. If you don't test, or don't provide reliable tests, then you don't have cases. Here's the info:

newsGP - What are the most reliable rapid antigen tests?
A new study has analysed 26 RATs from Australia and Canada, finding only six could effectively detect the lowest concentrations of COVID-19.

Slightly good news:

The WHO has finally acknowledged what experts like Linsey Marr have been trying to tell us for years now. Pathogens spread through the air when we inhale and exhale. So the droplet theory is officially dead. It's a baby step in the right direction, and we have to celebrate them, at least a little. It's one more piece of information we can leverage.

WHO Overturns Dogma on Airborne Disease Spread. The CDC Might Not Act on It. - KFF Health News
After grave missteps in the covid pandemic, the World Health Organization revisited the science and now confirms that many respiratory viruses are inhaled as airborne particles. The new framework implies that stopping transmission relies on costly measures like ventilation and masking.

Scientists have also uncovered the part of the brain that controls your immune response. They describe it as a dial. Nate Bear gave an excellent breakdown of the study:

Found: the dial in the brain that controls the immune system
Scientists identify the brain cells that regulate inflammation, and pinpoint how they keep tabs on the immune response.

On the bird flu front:

The CDC has finally admitted what we already know, that avian flu has pandemic potential and we're not doing enough. The virus itself has mutated 300 times recently, and it's acquiring the exact mutations it would need to spread among humans:

CDC admits H5N1 bird flu has ‘pandemic potential’
Researchers at the USDA revealed the development last week after swabbing 26 infected dairy herds across eight states. They said it raised the risk of the disease spreading to humans.

So what exactly has to happen for avian flu to start a pandemic? There's a specific mutation that lets the virus infect us better by overriding our natural defenses. Here's Science:

Different combinations of mutations in one subunit of the polymerase, PB2, can change the enzyme to work better in mammals. But there’s one known mutation, dubbed E627K, that does so in a single bound by swapping an amino acid at a key position, a glutamate, for a lysine. The mutation’s first recorded appearance was in the virus causing the 1918 flu. “That PB2 was so good that it has stuck in every human influenza virus until the 2009 swine flu pandemic,” says Imperial College London virologist Tom Peacock.

Scientists have been finding this mutation across outbreaks in mammal populations over the last few years.

So it's already happening.

It's not a matter of hoping it's not going to happen. It's a matter of when and not if. Bird flu will start spreading between humans. Unfortunately, farmers and state agriculture officials are putting up a lot of resistance against the federal government, telling them to "back off" even as we have no idea who's getting infected:

That's where we stand at the moment. Wealth and power continue to derail effective responses to major diseases. These are things I explore in my own latest piece. I try to end on an optimistic note. We might live in the age of the wendigo. If so, intelligence and compassion remain our best defense.

The Age of The Wendigo
Greed breeds cannibalism.

That's it for now. My family will be on the road for a couple of days, but I'll be back with more later this week.

Take care,


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