## What I’ve learned from having COVID

1. The same thing Salman Rushdie learned: either you spend your entire life in hiding, or eventually it’ll come for you. Years might pass. You might emerge from hiding once, ten times, a hundred times, be fine, and conclude (emotionally if not intellectually) that the danger must now be over, that if it were going to come at all then it already would have, that maybe you’re even magically safe. But this is just the nature of a Poisson process: 0, 0, 0, followed by 1.
2. First comes the foreboding (in my case, on the flight back home from the wonderful CQIQC meeting in Toronto)—“could this be COVID?”—the urge to reassure yourself that it isn’t, the premature relief when the test is negative. Only then, up to a day later, comes the second vertical line on the plastic cartridge.
3. I’m grateful for the vaccines, which have up to a 1% probability of having saved my life. My body was as ready for this virus as my brain would’ve been for someone pointing a gun at my head and demanding to know a proof of the Karp-Lipton Theorem. All the same, I wish I also could’ve taken a nasal vaccine, to neutralize the intruder at the gate. Through inaction, through delays, through safetyism that’s ironically caused millions of additional deaths, the regulatory bureaucracies of the US and other nations have a staggering amount to answer for.
4. Likewise, Paxlovid should’ve been distributed like candy, so that everyone would have a supply and could start the instant they tested positive. By the time you’re able to book an online appointment and send a loved one to a pharmacy, a night has likely passed and the Paxlovid is less effective.
5. By the usual standards of a cold, this is mild. But the headaches, the weakness, the tiredness … holy crap the tiredness. I now know what it’s like to be a male lion or a hundred-year-old man, to sleep for 20 hours per day and have that feel perfectly appropriate and normal. I can only hope I won’t be one of the long-haulers; if I were, this could be the end of my scientific career. Fortunately the probability seems small.
6. You can quarantine in your bedroom, speak to your family only through the door, have meals passed to you, but your illness will still cast a penumbra on everyone around you. Your spouse will be stuck watching the kids alone. Other parents won’t let their kids play with your kids … and you can’t blame them; you’d do the same in their situation.
7. It’s hard to generalize from a sample size of 1 (or 2 if you count my son Daniel, who recovered from a thankfully mild case half a year ago). Readers: what are your COVID stories?

### 93 Responses to “What I’ve learned from having COVID”

1. Abigail Says:

Mine was remarkably similar. After visiting a wonderful conference (the first in person conference I attended since the pandemic started), I was getting symptoms on my flight home. After arriving home, I did a self-test which was negative. The next morning, it was positive.

And I also spend 20 hours/day sleeping for over a week. No headaches, but lots of muscle pain in neck, shoulders and back when sitting upright.

No kids to worry about. But I passed it on to my spouse (who recovered a lot quicker than I did).

2. Dan Riley Says:

Similar to Abigail, but also had fatigue and muscle pain for a couple of weeks after my first negative antigen test.

3. Julio JX Says:

Really bad, but better times will come, I know. My father died because of covid, my mother was in a really bad state. 2 years have passed and now I am trying doing well in my PhD (In computer science of course 😉 ), as my father hoped. So, yeah, times in shadow but I am completely optimistic about bright days ahead.

4. Scott Says:

Oh, one other thing: sense of smell might be affected, but food tastes as delicious as ever.

5. Rand Says:

Similar experience to yours.

Started feeling sick on the flight back from QPL in Oxford. I took a test that came back negative, but my thermometer said positive (103, I think). Tested positive the next morning.

I should have been better about getting paxlovid. I used MDLive and the doctor there thought I didn’t need it. Only thought to ping my GP when I texted a friend (a pulmonologist who kind of has his hands full) about a prescription and said “call your PCP!” I’m still getting used to actually having a doctor rather than some nebulous student health services. (Though a hospital doctor, which adds about 24 hours in delay.)

BOY did my throat hurt, though my worries about not being able to swallow and choking were unfounded.

Being immediately post-COVID is nice! (Assuming your variant stays popular.) There was a Quantum Supremacy workshop a few weeks later where I ate indoors with people with almost no worries about getting COVID. Hoping that immunity lasts through PLanQC. (Next week in Ljubljana!)

6. marc Says:

My story is that, as a healthy 49 year old (now), I have , like you, little to nothing to fear from this disease and therefore I won’t spend time worrying about it for myself.

7. Scott Says:

marc #6: What I have to fear (beyond the ruining of my family’s plans for the week) is an apparently 1-in-5 chance of long COVID and brain fog, which hopefully won’t end my research career. Depending on the probability of that outcome, the rational course might have been to stop worrying after I’d gotten vaxxed and twice boosted, since I was eventually going to get COVID regardless and had already done what I could to protect myself … but it might also have been to spend the next decade or more as a hermit!

8. asdf Says:

In the non-long-haul case, an anecdotal discussion thread by chess players says it tends to take a month or so for their ratings to recover: https://redd.it/wxv82u

If it helps, Magnus Carlsen, the world’s #1 player, was infected earlier this year and was off form for a while, but seems to be back to normal now.

I haven’t gotten it yet. I’m doing stuff like avoiding in-person events and being relatively hardcore about wearing N95 masks indoors except at home. I don’t feel like Salman Rushdie in hiding, but it’s maybe easier for me than it is for people with professional obligations and/or extravert cravings. My biggest cause of covid anxiety is having to be around family members who are less careful than I am.

9. M2 Says:

I got it in January, which was remarkably good timing since I had the week off anyway. Like you, I slept nearly all the time. I’m grateful that I was able to. I live alone, so I wasn’t worried about giving it to somebody else. Honestly, I didn’t find it that stressful. It was inevitable, and the timing was pretty convenient, so I was grateful for that. It’s certainly not the case that one in five have debilitating long-term symptoms (I have far more than five friends who have had COVID, and neither that sample nor the national sample support any such outcome), but I did take the possibility seriously enough to upgrade to long-term disability insurance last fall. That was nice to have just in case.

10. Dan Riley Says:

My anecdote agrees with asdf’s report, I lost about a month’s worth of productivity—over a week doing nothing, and a few more weeks cherry-picking things that didn’t require a high level of concentration. Just getting back into form now.

11. Ernest Prabhakar Says:

Heh. I realize you feel about our medical innovation system the way I feel about higher education. It sucks that it is so backward, inefficient, and politicized. — but it is still a miracle that we have it at all. 🙂

My COVID story happened the day after I got laid off, so I had plenty of time to reflect (and a supportive family during my quarantine). By the grace of God I landed a dream job a month later at a friend’s startup, where we hope fix the many information asymmetries that plague both those systems…

12. Shmi Says:

Hope you get back to normal, both mentally and physically, within a short time! This universe needs your brain working. If you had any prior health issues, watch out for any changes in those areas.

I recovered from a recent bout of a relatively mild covid (just bad stomach issues and muscle aches for a few days) seemingly without consequences, while my wife had the usual terrible sore omicron throat, and her chronic fatigue has gotten much worse post-covid, bad days alternating with worse days. Both of us were vaxxed and boosted.

It is surprising how ineptly every single government has reacted so far. None said “Moderna/Pfizer/etc, develop us a universal nasal vaccine, here is a billion dollars just for trying, another 10 billion if you succeed, we waive the usual approval process if the benefits are obvious”. Or created a covid bounty. Or anything sane, really. Everyone takes their clue from the US, and mimics the incompetence of the FDA/CDC.

13. Russ Abbott Says:

Got it while on vacation. Like you the tiredness predominated. After a day or two, the other symptoms faded away. It probably helped that I’m fully vaccinated and boosted. Before we left I asked my doctor for some just-in-case Paxlovid. Request denied.

My wife, also fully vaccinated and boosted, was symptom-free–even though we continued to sleep in the same hotel beds. (She didn’t want to take a test.)

When we got home and people asked about our trip, my response was that it felt like I had aged 20 years in a couple of weeks. I too worried about long Covid. But after 3-4 weeks the tiredness lifted, especially if I get enough sleep.

14. John Says:

Did you wear a mask in the conference? Or since you ate indoors anyway it was inevitable anyway. I’m looking at conferences in the coming months and wondering how resigned I should be

15. Moshe Says:

I also got it coming back from a conference very recently. The symptoms were minimal, 2-3 days of sore throat, no fever or fatigue, even managed to exercise while isolating. I have no lasting symptoms of any kind. I kind of expected to get it, mostly surprised it took so long. After adequately protecting myself I was ready to get back to life, in fact in the last few months before summer the main inhibition to travel was the hassle to get covid while traveling, not the increased chance of getting it (e.g in my first travel my immediate family all got the virus, so I likely avoided it by traveling).

Re long covid, it is difficult to get good information. I am sure this should be part of the risk calculus, but it is also clear to me we don’t live in a world where 20% of my research community are now experiencing brain fog.

16. Weekend Editor Says:

After 2.5 years of being extremely cautious, I was finally exposed on a Boston MBTA shuttle bus when the Red Line shut down. They hired drivers who didn’t know their way around, so it took an hour from Alewife to Kendall Square. The bus was packed, mostly with rowdy young folk without masks. Not a good result for me.

On the other hand, I got paxlovid the afternoon of the day I tested positive. About a week later, my spouse did, too. I got a rebound, my spouse did not. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a 2nd course of paxlovid for the rebound, due to conservative prescribing guidelines. It REALLY should be more available!

Fortunately, we were both quadruple-vaxed, which made it milder. Still, it was a very rough ride.

Even now, about 6 weeks after initial exposure, we’re both easily tired out to an almost ridiculous extent. The papers I read to day say post-COVID-19 fatigue lasts 6-9 months. So I’m looking forward to having cognitive powers and energy restored… in February 2023.

I lost 8 pounds, but this is not a good way to achieve that.

17. Scott Says:

Hooray — less than 48 hours after the initial positive test, I took another test, and the “T” line is now almost too faint to see!

18. Ilya Zakharevich Says:

3 days of sore throat — then 2 months (and counting) of brain fog. (This is after 2 boosters. Was not eligible for Paxlovid.)

My recommendation: when flying, use a new fresh mask.

19. James Babcock Says:

> that maybe you’re even magically safe. But this is just the nature of a Poisson process: 0, 0, 0, followed by 1.

Caveat, some people *are* magically safe. Vaccine effectiveness is reduced by mutation but not to zero, subthreshold exposures can reboost immunity, and some peoples’ immune systems work better than others for illegible reasons.

20. Marc Says:

Scott 7 yes but you got it anyway and it seems vax wears off after few months so you likely have not had a benefit. You probably did yourself and your career more harm worrying about it rather than getting on with life and job.

21. Matt Says:

Glad you seem to be recovering well, Scott.

I think ‘hide forever’ vs. ‘stop worrying’ is a false dichotomy, because we don’t have reason to be confident that the important risks are overwhelmingly concentrated in the first infection. It might be much better to get covid a couple of times per decade than to get it many times.

22. Chaoyang Lu Says:

Scott #17 That indicates a fast recovery. 48 hours! Just like my 25-year-old student who soon fully recovered.

23. Oleg Eterevsky Says:

I had Covid this summer. I had fever for a couple of days. The test was positive for around 5 days. The most unpleasant symptom for coughing that lasted for more than a month.

I live in Switzerland and it seems like people are already mentally moving Covid into the “endemic” category in their brains. I.e. almost everyone had it and it is treated as unpleasant, but more or less unavoidable.

24. Vy Says:

Wish I could say the same, unfortunately, it was a lot worse for me.

Some background information – I am in my late 20s, never had any health issues and used to spend 3-4 days a week doing Muay Thai (kick boxing) and commuting to work by bike every day (10km), never smoked and only consumed alcohol in moderate amounts (1 per week max).

I got Covid back in early April, 2020, just days after the very first lockdown was put in place (I live in London). The first symptoms were quite mild – cough, fewer and fatigue. Then a day or two later I lost the sense of smell, muscle pain kicked in, body temperature soared above +39C followed with unbearable pain of eye sockets. We’re now on day 4/5 of Covid – started having coughing episodes of 10-15 minutes during which I could barely breathe, to the point where I was passing out 2-3 times a day. I haven’t eaten for days at that point either.

At that point I’ve decided that it’s time to call the NHS, but as expected – there was nothing they could help or advise with, apart from strongly advising against taking Ibuprofen. Apart from that, told me to get plenty of rest, consume more fluids and only go to A&E if the breathing difficulties get any worse (apparently passing out multiple times a day was not severe enough yet).

After 2 weeks I started feeling better, fewer was gone and so was the pain in eye sockets. The smell & taste was coming back slowly, still couldn’t taste salt at all. Walking around the apartment was still a huge challenge, so I was spending most of my time on the coach in my living room. Took me a good month before I would attempt to leave the apartment and venture up onto the roof terrace. Another month before I finally attempted to head outside for a short walk.

Unfortunately that’s where the recovery has completely halted to a grind. For the next year or so I would suffer from constant fatigue and brain fog, every 5-7 days I’d develop cold-like symptoms. Performing even the most basic tasks (I am a software developer) were unbearable. The longest I could stay concentrated in front of a computer would be 10-15 minutes, after that – I’d just get extremely irritated and delete any work I’ve manage to get done and restart again. No matter what I tried – nothing was helping, so I ended up resigning in early September since it felt like a better option than trying to fight the corporate world that just refused to accept the reality of long Covid.

After going to Turkey and Lithuania to get a number of tests, procedures and screening I was advised to take Covid Vaccine (Moderna) ASAP as they had patients with similar cases reporting mild improvements after 1st one and even better after second. The first jab sent me back to bed for 10 days, literally felt like a brutal case of flu. Second one was slightly better, just severe muscle pains and mild fewer.

Unfortunately the long Covid symptoms only started to fade away during summer of 2022 (just a few months ago). Went to the gym for the first time in 2 years back in July, during the latest trip to Turkey to get even more health checks done.

25. Aspect Says:

I hope you recover fully Scott! I got COVID a month and a half ago. I had fever that spiked high for a day (103F according to google’s conversion) and then it sort of faded after a day or two. 4 days after the first symptoms appeared, my main symptoms (fever, headaches, fatigue) were pretty much gone. I wasn’t feeling 100% for the next 7-10 days. I would still get a weird sickness feeling every once in a while, but I was eventually back to full health.

What was striking to me was how easily it spread to my whole family. Their symptoms were a bit milder but more varied. They had lower fever than I did but it took them longer to recover and they also had things like nausea which I was lucky enough to avoid completely.

26. OhMyGoodness Says:

I haven’t been vaccinated, wore a mask only when required, two daughters in primary school, sought out friends that were positive with offers to help, traveled internationally, tempted the fates in conversations, and as far as I know never positive. Sometime I will take an antibody test to see if I had it but completely asymptomatic. No deeper claims here and just points of fact. My sympathies to anyone that lost loved ones to this virus.

27. manorba Says:

While my family has been covid free up to now, in my group of friends i’d say half of them and their families have been affected. From what they say it’s been the same thing as many others here. Very heavy first days with flu like symptoms, extreme weakness, some loss of taste and smell. but it subsided quickly and it was gone in a week or so. the only one that reports lingering side effects is the one who got it first, in the delta times.
i’m pretty sure everyone i’m talking about is vaccinated and double-boosted.
by the way the italian gvmnt is pushing for a 4th dose of the old vaccines they still have stocked in quantities, with little success. my mother who is 74 just decided to wait for the new ones. can’t blame her, what can the old vaccines do against omicron and beyond?

28. Vitor Says:

5 days after I got my first vaccination, I started getting severe headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, and exertion intolerance. Some of these symptoms have gotten better over time, others have gotten worse (specially the last one). I managed to finish my phd on the strength of the work I’d already done at that point. Now, almost 1.5 years later, I’m feeling good enough to start working 2 days a week again.

That’s a career-ending illness, as you like to call it. But I have to agree with Moshe #15 that there’s no chance in hell 20% of the population has experienced symptoms of that magnitude. AFAIK, long covid surveys capture a broad range of symptoms (e.g., you’re counted if you say you have headaches “more often than usual” after covid). That’s well and good for a *scientific* investigation of a new condition, but it’s way too broad for any kind of policy decision (personal or society-wide).

29. Trevor Says:

I’ve been quite lucky, all things considered. Despite four tests, I’ve never been positive. In 2020, I spent an hour inside my vehicle with a co-worker who ended up testing positive. He’s someone who doesn’t believe in masks and social distancing, and he wouldn’t take the vaccine if you forced a gun barrel against his head. If I didn’t get it then, I either caught it without symptoms or one of the lucky people to be immune to it.

Grateful to hear that your symptoms were mild. Not everyone is so fortunate, even those with their vaccination and boosters. Sad to say, we acted far too late for Covid to be stopped and now it’s endemic.

30. Gabriel Says:

I got COVID back in February during the Omicron wave. I was then triple-vaccinated. I was on (the equivalent of) Tylenol for like 4 days. Every time I took Tylenol I felt reasonably OK, and every time the effect went away I felt terrible. After the 4 sick days I went back to normal. Afterwards during the summer I got flu-like symptoms that lasted for a few days on two separate occasions, but I preferred not to check what it was… As before, Tylenol helped me function for several hours each time

31. Gary Drescher Says:

On my 3rd day of Covid last month (2nd day of flu-like symptoms), I developed 95-100% anosmia (but taste seemed unaffected). The next day, other symptoms began to improve, but my olfactory sense didn’t start to recover until the following week, and took another week to return to normal. Losing smell briefly was a mere curiosity, but a permanent loss would have been traumatic, so I was relieved to get it back.

At the time, I was visiting the Netherlands, where, I discovered, you can’t get Paxlovid unless you’re an ICU patient. Fortunately, I recovered quickly even without it.

32. Raymundo Arroyave Says:

My COVID story is very similar to many already shared. In my first big conference post covid, everyone was taken reasonable precautions, the organizers had a vaccine and mask requirement to attend the conference venue and we all followed social distancing guidelines even in social events associated to the conference. Needless to say, no one in my immediate scientific circle got infected. We all felt immune to COVID (we are all probably vaccinated and boosted).

Fast-forward a few months. I am attending the second big conference in my community. COVID-wise, the policy of the conference organizers is basically “no policy”. There is no vaccine or mask requirement, everyone let their guard down (including myself). Mid-conference, we all got an ominous email letting us know that someone attending the conference had tested positive. We all shrugged and pretended that everything was normal. On my flight back (it was a 9 hours flight) I began to feel joint aches, and tiredness. As soon as I arrived home, a friend who also had gone to the conference called me and told me to get tested. My first test was positive and took another one just to check. After the second positive result, I self-isolated to the back room of my house and reduced all interactions with my family to zero. Then I had two/three of the most horrible nights in a long time: fever, cough, total body aches. That week I had a severe case of brain fog as I completely forgot about meetings I had and emails that I sent. Symptoms quickly subsided, other than a bad cough that would last for three weeks and would not let me talk without getting into coughing fits that lasted forever. Now I am fully recovered, and fortunately I do not suffer from any long-COVID related symptoms. However, this experience has made me much more aware of the fact that COVID is still around and will likely get me again if I am not careful. All: be safe and use masks when in confined spaces!

33. JimV Says:

I’ve mentioned my symptoms here before. On the positive side, I had a tendency to snack a lot and eat big meals, and just about everything tastes bad now, so I am back to my college weight, and staying there. I basically eat one smallish meal a day (e.g., half a sub sandwich) plus a milkshake. I rarely get through a day without at least one two-hour nap when I am too tired to do anything else. I am retired so it isn’t a big deal, but I could not sustain the 60-hour work-weeks I used to average when employed as an engineer. I used to be able to walk up to 20 miles a day (I refuse to own a car), but now five miles leaves me drained and and almost falling asleep on my feet.

I had a mild (8 hour) case of covid in May of 2020, then a much worse (three days barely getting out of bed at all) in November of 2021. Probably alpha and omicron. A few things I used to like tasted bad after the first case, then almost everything after the second case. As I said, that has had pluses as well as minuses. I had the two Moderna shots between case one and two, and a Moderna and a Pfizer booster since.

I had a lung issue a few years ago which I still take medication for, but had no respiratory problems with covid. Maybe the medication helped there, but the covid effects seem to be very idiosyncratic, except for the fatigue and fog. There still seems to be a lot we need to learn about it. I expect part of the problem is that at around 8 billion population we are a big target for viruses. Plus all the long-distance travel.

34. HasH Says:

Thanks to all pantheons, +Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and Sir Isaac Newton, you are okay and you feel better now.

3 times Covid survivor; 1 Delta, 2 times Omicron variants. 2 times vaccinated (BionTech).

Living on top of the mountain. %99,99 isolated from human life forms (minimum 6 months) but still Sir.Covid found me and kicked my butt 3 times.

-First (Delta) the Evil one: Coughing was the worst. I thought my college roomate calling me from afterlife (he died of Covid too). Never ending dry, painful shor cough. Nothing helps to ease it for a couple minutes. Honey, mountain mints, black pepper, and fresh lemon tea helped a little bit. Rest is waiting for the angel of death. This continued for 4 days like a coma. Isolated myself from my parents (it worked). Fifth day, bone ache and high fever came. On the 7th day I felt better.. a short cough continued for 1 more week. (October 5,2021)

-Second (Omicron) lesser Evil: Start with dry coughing first (again). I immediately remember those feelings. Something special about that coughing. Different from cold. Never ending dry, short, painful, annoying cough. Running nose and fewer. Nothing else. 3 days were heavy (not like Delta), next 2 days moderate. Felt better after 7 days like Delta. (June 4, 2022)

– Third (Omicron) Same Sh*t, Different Variant: Start with dry cough again. I didn’t experience any other symptoms. 4 days of continuous dry, short, painful cough. Felt better after the 7th day’s mark (I don’t know what the deal is with 7 days).

About my lifestyle: living away from people. Chicken in my yard, honey from highland bees (my father), %99,9 pure organic (no fertilizer, pesticide) cooked from scratch (butter and cheese from highland cows and goats), daily pure propolis extract I made. Daily Kefir and Honey Kombucha (I make) etc. And still kicked my organic ass 3 times.

Go vaccinate brother and sister scientists (secular ones). Covid is not a joke..

35. David Speyer Says:

Got COVID in July on vacation. Got Paxlovid the next day and my wife and I drove 12 hours to get back home.

I had two days of exhaustion and aches during which I slept alone and isolated as best I could. After that, my wife got it too and full isolation was impossible, but we continued blasting fans through the house, wearing N-95’s and eating all meals outdoors, with the result that two of our three kids tested negative throughout and the third tested positive but never developed symptoms.

The first two days were exhausting, but not worse than other diseases we’ve had: I’d say every 2-4 years one of our kids has brought home something this bad. After that, it was just normal-cold level bad. Symptoms were gone after 5 days and I tested negative at 8 days; I was able to exercise and get by on normal amounts of sleep after 2 weeks.

I will say, though, that I feel like I don’t have as much motivation to slog through boring work as I used to. This seems like a silly symptom, but it is really noticeable, and I hope it will go away. Exciting work like research and classroom teaching I am fully ready for.

36. Scott Says:

David Speyer: Your comment makes me wonder whether I, too, caught a disease one of whose side effects was permanently to prevent me from being able to slog through boring work … not now but, like, 20 years ago. 😀

37. Doug K Says:

dodged it up until July, then somehow managed to catch it outdoors.. at a canoe race, camping in a field with other racers from all over the US and Canada. Fully vaccinated and boosted, masked indoors always, should have been masking outdoors also I guess..

High fever for a couple of days, cough and ridiculous levels of fatigue. I felt like a cat, needed a morning nap, afternoon nap, pre-dinner nap, nap after dinner to recover enough energy to go to sleep again for the night.. It’s hard to know how much or if the Paxlovid helped but I was surely feeling awful before starting it. It was the sickest I’ve been since viral meningitis. No loss of taste or smell from the lurgy itself while the Paxlovid made everything taste like bitter ashes. The worst was over in a week. I isolated at home in the master suite but still gave it to my wife and son. He had mild flu symptoms for 2 days. My wife had 3-4 days of fatigue with no other symptoms.

Heart rate stayed high for a month or so, normally low 50s and went to high 60s for that month. Also while working out I’d hit maximum heart rate higher than I’ve seen since a young man in my 40s, went up to 180s in the first five minutes of the swim or run. That seems to have calmed down now luckily.

I’ve had brain fog and trouble with getting things done for nearly ten years now. It’s worse after Covid so work is a struggle.

38. Dave Lewis Says:

Best wishes on continued recovery!

39. Mild Says:

I contracted covid in July and it was milder than the typical winter cold. Just some mild sniffles. I assume the vaccine lessened my symptoms.

One of my family members was infected by an earlier variant pre-vaccine and lost there sense of taste and have not fully recovered it.

40. OhMyGoodness Says:

Trevor #29

Rolling out these vaccines earlier would not have impacted the trajectory. There were identified variants immune to the vaccines that were gene sequenced prior to the start of vaccination. These variants were in circulation long before being sequenced. The probability of containing a virus by vaccination that is highly transmissible and readily produces variants that are not impacted by the vaccine is practically zero. Even the Covid response coordinator for the CDC in July stated the following-“DR. BIRX: I knew these vaccines were not going to protect against infection. And I think we overplayed the vaccines”. I believe anyone that looked at the situation with a modicum of logic reached this same conclusion as Birx prior to the start of vaccinations. This statement lends further support for the view that the CDC is fundamentally a political organization rather than a scientific organization that informs politics.

The only way vaccines could have contained this virus is if a vaccine was available that was generally effective against all Coronaviruses. To date, after years of research, no generally effective vaccine has been identified. This has included research on rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, SARS, MERS, various viruses that impacted commercial chicken industry, now Covid 19, and whatever has been conducted under secrecy in bio weapons programs. Zilch.

I know this has become an ideologically tainted issue but there is a reasonable expectation when the final results are tallied that the negative impacts on public health from these vaccines are roughly to the positive impacts.

41. OhMyGoodness Says:

…roughly equivalent to the positive impacts.

42. Alex N Says:

If you didn’t know it was COVID – suppose the test was a false negative – you’d have shrugged it off as a mild cold and would have already forgotten about it.

I have a friend who – back at the beginning, during the original wave – had COVID and it was the worst sickness in his life. The worst he ever felt. Except later he was correctly tested and it turned out it was not COVID.

My own was a one day affair.

43. Swimmy Says:

Healthy 37 year old. No comorbidities. Caught it from my daughter, probably 3-4 months after my booster, right as Omicron was starting to spike everywhere. I took no additional medicine.

My experience was not so bad! I only had 2 symptoms. 1) A eustachian tube blockage which caused serious pain in one ear. Lasted 2-3 days. 2) A really bad cough. So bad that I pulled a muscle in my abdomen from all the coughing, and it hurt for a full month after the COVID was gone.

But no fatigue, no fever, no loss of smell, no sore throat. I worked (from home) through the whole thing without any serious trouble. In short: not even like a mild flu. More like a severe cold. All in all, I feel pretty lucky. Getting a booster for new variants next week.

44. Scott Says:

Alex N #42: Like I said, while I was lucky (and surely somewhat protected by 4 vaccine shots), and while the coughing has been mild, it’s been worse than any other cold I’ve ever had in terms of constant tiredness. And if it were a false negative, I wouldn’t have taken Paxlovid and who knows how much worse the tiredness would’ve been. Based on that experience I disagree with your claim.

45. JimV Says:

Since having had covid (before vaccines were available) does not make you immune to getting covid again, due to its rapid mutation, then of course vaccines will not. What they do is prepare and strengthen your body’s response so you are better able to fight it off. There is no serious study so far which does not show a huge beneficial effect of the vaccines. (See the Mayo Clinic’s summary for example.) The USA probably leads the developed world in covid damage since still only 67% of us are vaccinated.

As I see it, a virus invades a cell and sends out thousands of copies. If the body is unprepared, those thousands become millions before your body responds, but it the body already has millions of cellular soldiers active, they have the advantage. Hence the need for booster shots. I had my second case of covid about seven months after my vaccination and a month before I was scheduled for a booster shot at a local pharmacy, due to its backlog.

46. fred Says:

The only time I thought maybe I caught covid was at the very beginning of the pandemic in NYC, but my symptoms were really super mild (and there was no test at the time). A few days later my wife got a really bad fever, for days (maybe caused by a bladder infection, we don’t know), so bad at one point that our doc told us to call 911… but they were so overwhelmed with calls it took 5 hours for the ambulance to show up, and when they showed up she was feeling better, and the EMT told us we should avoid going to a hospital at all cost because that was a sure way to get covid (it was at the peak when hospitals in NYC were overwhelmed with very sick patients and deaths).

I would love to find out what’s the relation (if any) between the reactions from the covid vaccine and the severity of symptoms from actual covid. The covid vaccines always give me days of headaches, muscle pain, nausea, … but I get nothing from seasonal flu shots.

At this point Covid is going to be like the flu: getting the flu one year doesn’t mean you’ll never get it again. And getting vaccinated each year may help, but it’s not a sure thing. Some years will be worse than others (usually the public has been ignoring bad flu seasons, even when the news reported the hospitals were saturated and lots of death).

Personally, due to underlying conditions, I’ve always been actively avoiding getting the flu, by wearing masks in public transportation in winter (always getting weird looks) and working from home whenever coworkers were showing up sick at work… all way before covid was even a thing.
I guess now my default behavior isn’t that strange anymore.

47. fred Says:

I guess it’s a shame we never totally could get rid of covid.
But I doubt this could ever have been an option given that apparently it jumped to pets and animals, and then back to humans… so no amount of lockdowns in humans can avoid it going round and round.

On the good side, omicron is now way milder, even if it still kills hundreds of Americans everyday.

Remember the start of the pandemic with the horrible crisis about finding enough respirators? Or when India couldn’t get enough oxygen bottles?

It’s a shame we gave up on finding the true origin of the virus, especially when it comes to the lab theory. If it actually came out from a lab, it would be super important to review lab protocols and make sure it never happens again… but that will never happen now, thanks to China blocking any investigation and actively bullying anyone raising questions, and thanks to people like Fauci blocking any review of gain-of-function research.

48. fred Says:

Last thing:

I thought the pandemic would put a permanent damper on unnecessary in-person travel, for the sake of taking one step in the right direction of doing something about global warming and wasting of energy and resources…
but (as an example, not blaming people in academia in particular, even if they should know better and show the example…) given how many times the word “conference” is mentioned in this thread (and how many got sick as a result), it’s clear that people/institutions just couldn’t wait to get to their “good” old bad habits.
I guess it will take another pandemic and/or a few more years of out-of-control wildfire/heatwaves/droughts/blackouts for the lessons to finally sink in…
And by then hopefully VR will have become a more viable option to replace in person contact.

49. Craig Says:

Personal anecdote: 45 years old, vaxxed + double-boosted. I caught Covid at the beginning of June, spent 2 days exhausted in bed and the following week having brain fog for 3-4 hours a day and sleeping 9-10 hours a night. After which point I was fine, but still tested positive until day 12. Fortunately no long-term effects I can detect.

50. OhMyGoodness Says:

Jim V #45

I posted the British NHS statistics from January through May of this year that you objected to that showed little difference in per capita covid death rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated. If you look at current covid death rates per capita by country then the US in July ranked 15th globally and below Spain, Norway, Israel, Australia, Portugal, Finland, Greece, and Italy.

51. OhMyGoodness Says:

Jim V #45

There is a lack of serious studies with any conclusion at all as far as I know. If you can refer me to a single comprehensive all cause mortality study associated with these vaccines in the US then much appreciated. I have not been able to locate a single comprehensive US study.

52. Jan Says:

The good thing about the vaccines (I’ve got 3 so far, and here in Belgium we can all get a 4th one soon) is that your chances of being gravely ill drop significantly. I got covid in January (shortly after my 3rd vaccination) and experienced it as an uneventful bad cold.

53. JimV Says:

World Health Organization, https://covid19.who.int/

Confirmed Cases (current snapshot, next update Sept. 12):

#1 USA, 93,280,725

#2 India, 44,472,241

#3 Brazil, 34,477,539

#12 Spain, 13,358,722

(I was just making an quick guess, and was prepared to learn I was wrong. However, the USA seem to win total damage in a walkover. Either China is way down on the list or WHO doesn’t have data from China, but I heard they administered rigorous lockdowns.)

“There is no question that the current vaccines are effective and safe.”

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/full-fda-approval-of-a-covid-19-vaccine-what-you-should-know

Full FDA approval takes place when enough data demonstrate that the vaccines are safe and effective for most people who receive them, and when the FDA has had an opportunity to review and approve the whole vaccine manufacturing process and facilities. After many months of studies and more than 500 million COVID-19 vaccines being given in the U.S., the FDA has a lot of information on how safe and effective the vaccines are in protecting people, how well they work to prevent severe coronavirus disease, and how the vaccines are safely and consistently manufactured. (Hence the vaccines were approved based on clinical trials and continue to be approved based on monitoring of results.)

The Lancet
Effectiveness of mRNA BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine up to 6 months in a large integrated health system in the USA: a retrospective cohort study – The Lancet

New England Journal of Medicine
Effectiveness of Covid-19 Vaccines in Ambulatory and Inpatient Care Settings | NEJM

The New England Journal of Medicine
Protection against SARS-CoV-2 after Covid-19 Vaccination and Previous Infection | NEJM

The Lancet
Vaccine efficacy against severe COVID-19 in relation to delta variant (B.1.617.2) and time since second dose in patients in Scotland (REACT-SCOT): a case-control study – The Lancet Respiratory Medicine

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Interim Estimates of Vaccine Effectiveness of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 COVID-19 Vaccines in Preventing SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Health Care Personnel, First Responders, and Other

Nature
Progress of the COVID-19 vaccine effort: viruses, vaccines and variants versus efficacy, effectiveness and escape | Nature Reviews Immunology

The BMJ
Effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines on covid-19 related symptoms, hospital admissions, and mortality in older adults in England: test negative case-control study | The BMJ

… (many more) (Note, these are peer-reviewed scientific papers not written for laymen; the Nature News summary gives the gist: safe and effective.)

[I am sorry to prolong this off-topic issue when we had a good thread going. I have some of the typical liberal reality-bias which makes it hard to accept unrealistic opinions.]

54. James Gallagher Says:

I’m pretty sure me, my wife and daughter had covid right at the start of the pandemic in Europe, we were all suffering with flu-like symptoms in London back in March 2020, and I wasn’t feeling good at all, but we all recovered well
.
Since then my daughter’s school regular testing earlier this year found her positive, and the free tests she brought home showed all of us positive with a very dark lines on the lateral flow test.

But no symptoms whatsoever in any of us (Sorry Scott for your experience)

RIP Queen Elizabeth II, she actually launched the Royal Website at my old (comprehensive) school in North London back in 1990s, although I wasn’t there at the time

55. OhMyGooodness Says:

Jim V#53

Why the ad hominem comment and straw men? My statement was about current per capita reported fatality rates attributed to Covid and not gross infection rates. My polite request was for a reference to a comprehensive all cause mortality study that I don’t see in your links.

My reference was to an NHS report for England (link below) that shows the following-

Unvaccinated deaths due to Covid in 2022
January-1473
February-1229
March-1235
April-1143
May-935
Total-6,015

Vaccinated deaths due to Covid in 2022
January-34543
February-30166
March-32690
April-31520
May-28186
Total-157,105

https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/deathsbyvaccinationstatusengland/deathsoccurringbetween1january2021and31may2022/referencetable06072022accessible.xlsx

“Efficacy up to six months, Lancet”
This was a study of the Pfizer vaccine funded by Pfizer for the period 12/20-8/21. Delta began appearing last couple months of the study period and out of 3.5 million patients included in the study there were 1300 cases followed with confirmed Delta sequence. Covid is a very dynamic virus and Delta has been replaced with B.4 and especially B.5. These demonstrate far more vigor against the vaccine antibodies than Delta.

“NEJM, Efectiveness”
I can just read the abstract but for the period of 1/21-6/21 so Delta starting to appear end of study. No sequencing conducted to determine variant

I really don’t have the time to go through all these studies. The death rates from NHS are current, comprehensive, and by government regulation reported uniformly. If you can select one of these studies that are current and best make your point the I would like to go through it. Studies that include a preponderance of Alpha data not very relevant. It is a genetically dynamic virus and predominant variants have changed considerably. Both Alpha and Delta were outcompeted quickly and B.4 and B.5 are more resistant to vaccine induced antibodies then Delta that had an advantage over Alpha. B.5 has reached dominance in samples sequenced incredibly quickly.

56. OhMyGoodness Says:

JimV #53

I guess your note about gross infection rate was offered to question my statement about per capita fatality rates so to support my statement-

For the first week of September 2022, deaths and deaths per million-

US
Deaths-1769
Deaths per million-5.1

Japan
Deaths 1960
Per Million-15.6

Australia
Deaths-331
Per Million-12.7

New Zealand
Deaths-64
Per Million-12.8

Spain
Deaths-352
Per Million-7.5

Italy
Deaths 536
Per Million-8.9

UK
Deaths 524
Per Million-7.6

etc etc

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/weekly-trends/

57. OhMyGoodness Says:

This is only tangentially related but was extremely interesting to read. The linked Atlantic article details how FDA approval was received for Oxycontin. The Realpolitik of the FDA in that well documented instance is actually alarming. Well worth the read if you have time.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/04/sacklers-oxycontin-opioids/557525/

58. Topologist Guy Says:

On “brain fog”…

I’ve suffered from a brutal autoimmune condition that’s caused brain fog and chronic fatigue for the past two years. I can’t emphasize enough how much it derailed my life. It really put a stop to my mathematical career for two years. I couldn’t work, enjoy life, do anything really. Thankfully I’ve managed to cure it, and I’m feeling like myself again. Let me know if you experience any cognitive symptoms or chronic fatigue from your COVID infection (let’s hope you don’t, but it’s good to be prepared)—I have a lot of experience dealing with this and can recommend avenues for treatment. In particular, vortioxetine did wonders for me, correcting the cognitive deficit.

59. Olivier Says:

Had an unexplainable fever very early in the pandemic, no other symptoms, stayed in bed for 24 hours, 100% back to normal after that. Weird, lockdowns started a few weeks later. Never got vaccinated (by the time vaccines became generally available everywhere, I no longer had much concerns about covid).

In defense of the unvaxxed, if a 1% fear of death prevented people from doing what they wanted, we wouldn’t have a civilization.

60. LesHapablap Says:

My omicron experience was a mild flu/fever for 24 hours, with cold symptoms for a week and a cough that lasted a month. All ten people at my company caught omicron (I live in New Zealand), all were vaccinated. Almost everyone I know has had it, nobody has brain fog that I know of. One guy I know in his seventies now has heart flutter post-covid and has been grounded (he is a pilot).

Unless you have severe comorbidities your chance of death was never 1%. It was a bit less than 1% across all ages for covid classic through delta. For a late thirties male it would have been about 1/2,000 pre-vaccine. Omicron is less deadly by quite a lot so call that 1/6,000.

Your vaccine would cut that by 50%-90% presumably.

I’m surprised that you would isolate from your family with it, I haven’t heard of anyone in New Zealand doing that, at least not after omicron was everywhere. Maybe we have a different attitude toward it here because we only really had the one big omicron wave, and it didn’t take long for everyone to realize that it was really just a bad cold and that it was impossible to avoid.

61. Scott Says:

Olivier #59:

In defense of the unvaxxed, if a 1% fear of death prevented people from doing what they wanted, we wouldn’t have a civilization.

There might be 1% death risks that I can’t avoid while living my life, but I’d prefer not to pile on any additional ones, thanks very much! 😀

62. Tech roundup 158: a journal published by a bot - Javi López G. Says:

[…] What I’ve learned from having Covid […]

63. peter wills Says:

I had covid in the spring, diagnosed by a PCR test. Interestingly, I carried out multiple antigen tests before and after getting the PCR test and none of them showed anything – I no longer trust the antigen test.

I was pretty much asymptomatic, except for one night where I was congested.

64. Nick Drozd Says:

Hey Scott, part 1 of your series about the continuum hypothesis was posted just before the 2020 election. The 2022 midterms are coming up, so how about a part 2???

65. Scott Says:

Everyone: Alas, after testing negative for ~5 days, I then awoke with a stuffy nose this morning, so tested myself one more time just to be sure, and it was positive!! 🙁

Apparently this is “Paxlovid rebound,” a well-known phenomenon (Biden had it too). The second round hopefully won’t be as bad as the first one, but it means that I do need to go back into isolation for a few more days.

This underscores that, both on the individual level and on a societal one, the question is never when you’re done with COVID … it’s only ever when COVID is done with you!

66. MC Says:

I caught COVID at my Dad’s funeral, as did 17 of the 40 guests.

I was lucky; I was broadly asymptomatic. (I was tired on the first day, but I slept badly, so who knows if it was due to COVID or not.) I did need to cancel a holiday scuba diving in the Arctic Circle, so it was inconvenient.

The average age of the guests was around 70, and some of those who caught it had it quite severely.

67. manorba Says:

Scott hope you get rid of it asap, but luckily it seems you just got a mild case.

One thing that got me curious is how much talk there is on this comment section about paxlovid.
In my small part of the world nobody who got covid ever mentioned paxlovid of even other specific treatment. they just dealt with it as it was a common flu. i just quick checked and it seems just a couple thousand doses of paxlovid have been used in italy in total.

Hi Scott,
My best wishes for a speedy recovery from Covid. This may be perfectly bad time to ask you an unrelated question. But since you are world expert in this area and are likely to answer the question, I thought I would try. On another forum full of non scientists, someone raised a question on monogamy of entanglement. My limited understanding is that it says maximum entanglement between two is monogamous, but partial entanglement can be between any number of systems. I understand Google (IBM?) people could entangle 56 photons or electrons (?) couple of years back. If you have discussed this before, please let me know the reference blog. Thanks.

69. Scott Says:

kashyap vasavada #68: This is just a terminological confusion. You can have an entangled state on any number n≥2 of qubits—and indeed, virtually all quantum algorithms require such entangled states. But monogamy of entanglement says that if you take such a state, and then look at the reduced density matrix of any two of the qubits alone, or even just of the first qubit and any other qubit, you usually won’t see maximal entanglement locally—instead you’ll see an average amount of entanglement that falls off like at most 1/n. If you like, you’d need access to all the other qubits to “see” or “unlock” the entanglement that’s globally there. This is one of the key properties of entanglement that differentiates it from classical correlation. With the latter, you can have a distribution like “all 0’s with probability 1/2, all 1’s with probability 1/2” where the correlation is just as easy to detect locally as globally.

Thanks Scott for a clear reply.

71. Michael Weissman Says:

Some of the comments seem to cast doubt on the likelihood of long-term effects. It’s hard to judge such things from a collection of anecdotes. NHS did a large study indicating substantial post-acute increases in the rate of almost all bad cardiovascular outcomes, apparently caused by the Covid:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01689-3

Of course, any observational study could have inadequately measured confounders despite the precautions taken in the analysis.

Interestingly, something similar has been observed for flu using an RCT with randomly assigned vaccine for heart patients, avoiding the confounding issue.
https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.057042

Post-viral effects are big.

72. OhMyGoodness Says:

fred #48

During the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian geologic periods (collectively The Carboniferous) Earth (terrestrially) was dominated by giant forests that sequestered a large amount of carbon. These were the progenitors of most modern day coal beds. The time interval was 360 million to 300 million years before present.

There was so much sequestration and photosynthesis that atmospheric oxygen levels were around 33% so 50% higher than current. With high atmospheric oxygen levels and massive forests no surprise that there is evidence in the geological record of truly massive forest fires during this period.

Insects do not have lungs and their respiratory process is relatively inefficient. The high oxygen levels at that time allowed animal life to be dominated by giant insects. There were flying insects found thus far in the fossil record with a wing span of two feet. There were giant armored millipedes with a length of ten feet.

The insight provided by this is to be careful what you ask for with respect to atmospheric composition if you are not an entomologist.. 🙂

73. OhMyGoodness Says:

Michael Weissman #71

I went through your first linked study quickly and it was under the auspices of the US Veterans Administration for the period March 1, 2020 to March 1, 2021 so presumably predominantly Alpha variant . The study was conducted on a cohort of 153,670 unvaccinated patients that tested positive for Covid at a VA facility and followed their progress for 12 months. They had two comparison groups and I will limit my comments to the “Historical” group of 5.9 million pre Covid patients from 2017 and so primarily from Figure 9. Figure 9 sets out three categories. Covid Positive Not Hospitalized, Covid Positive Hospitalized, and Covid Positive ICU.

For Covid Positive Non Hospitalized
The hazard ratios for the various cardiopulmonary pathologies listed were slightly elevated but close to HR of one except for those strongly associated with clotting disorders so pulmonary embolism (HR about 2.9) and thrombosis were elevated. Cardiac Arrest actually less than one likely do to statistical error.

For Covid Positive and Hospitalized
Hazard ratios increase across the board to around 4 and pulmonary embolism increases to HR of about 10 (this equates to about 30 more cases per thousand).

For Covid Positive and ICU
Hazard ratios again increase across the board and Cardiac Arrest (15 more cases per thousand) and Pulmonary Embolism around HR of 40 (sixty more cases per thousand) and Thrombosis around 10.

This data seems to support a correlation between clotting disorders and Covid and this same association has become a popular concern with the vaccines.

Figure 9 available here-
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01689-3/figures/15

74. Scott Says:

An update: not only is the COVID back, showing no diminishment after 2 weeks (!), but just today I lost my sense of smell. I don’t know whether the Paxlovid completely failed or whether it saved me from something even worse.

75. OhMyGoodness Says:

Scott #74

I am very sorry to hear this Dr. Aaronson and hope it abates soon. You know the drill-chicken soup.

76. Shmi Says:

Oh no 🙁 That’s one nasty bug. Hope it doesn’t stick around for long on this second go. If Covid is like a Turing machine, keeping fingers crossed that this one halts in only a few more steps. Wonder if there are any more remedies available, like antibodies or something else.

Get well soon!

77. Jonathan Baxter Says:

“Up to 1%” includes 0%, so the claim is necessarily true. But without other comorbidities, you’re too young for the vaccines to have made anywhere near that much difference to your probability of survival.

Probability (in %) of (unvaccinated) covid mortality follows 10^(age/20)/2000 remarkably closely, with vaccination roughly equivalent to subtracting 20 years from your age (reducing mortality by an order of magnitude).

At 80 you’re at very high risk. 5% chance of expiring from covid. Infants at 0.0005% have far more to worry about before covid – e.g. other coronaviruses, the flu and almost everything else that can kill them.

At 40, your unvaccinated mortality probability was 0.05%, and your vaccinated mortality probability was 0.005%. Vaccination was worth about 20x less than 1%.

78. Scott Says:

Jonathan Baxter #77: Right, but I have the following risk factors: totally out-of-shape, overweight, pre-diabetic, and ADHD. My health, alas, is more like a 50- or 60-year-old’s.

79. Michael Weissman Says:

re OMG #73

Yes, A VA study, not NHS. My bad.

One does not know ahead of time whether which severity category one will be in, especially if you’re not vaccinated, so the lumped HRs are most relevant to prospective choices. Most outcomes have have HRs around roughly 1.7, coincidentally similar to the HR for heart patients randomly assigned to no flu vax in the RCT I mentioned.

Even for the HRs for the post-selected non-hospitalized your description is slanted.
Here are the HRs in the post-selected non-hospitalized group, including all outcomes, grouped by general type as in the paper:

Any CVD 1.35 (1.32, 1.38)

Cerebrovascular 1.26 (1.19, 1.34)
Dysrhythmia 1.24 (1.20, 1.28)
Inflammatory 1.56 (1.33, 1.83)
Ischemic 1.14 (1.08, 1.20)
Other cardiac 1.27 (1.21, 1.32)
Thrombotic 1.94 (1.83, 2.05)
MACE 1.30 (1.26, 1.35)

80. Michael Weissman Says:

Scott- Damn, that sucks. I bet you’ll be ok pretty soon though.

Two theories on these Paxlovid rebounds.
1. (from a friend in on the treatment policy decisions) With any antiviral or antibiotic, there’s always some guesswork in deciding how long the course should be in the general population. A period is chosen that is meant to clear up almost all the cases but there will always be a little long-time tail. The period for Paxlovid was underestimated so the tail of recurrences is much bigger than intended.
2. (from Michael Mina’s twitter) There’s an actual Paxlovid rebound effect, whereby the initial dose keeps the viral level below what’s needed to get a robust t-cell response going. Then when the inevitable post-treatment stragglers start multiplying your full immune response only finishes them off after it gets going, i.e. later than it would have without Paxlovid. Somewhat counterintuitively, Mina suggests it might be best to start the Paxlovid not quite right away. Dunno if he”s right.

None of this is relevant to your choices anymore. But either way it does suggest that the 5-day course was always too short.

81. OhMyGoodness Says:

Michael Wessman #79

I included a link to Figure 9 to allow direct consideration of Figure 9 so not sure how slanted but apologize if you found my gross characterization to be unreasonable. I agree with your HR’s and below are the corresponding numbers of additional cases per thousand patients that correspond to your HR’s and including hospitalized and ICU for comparison purposes (data from Supplementary Table 19 that includes your HR values (Non for Non Hospitalized, Hosp for Hospitalized, and ICU for…).

Any CVD (composite of below)
Non 28
Hosp 161
ICU 312
Cerebrovascular
Non 3
Hosp 20
ICU 31
Dysrythmia
Non 7
Hosp 79
ICU 180
Inflammatory
Non 1
Hosp 6
ICU 11
Ischemic
Non 2
Hosp 30
ICU 50
Other Cardiac
Non 5
Hosp 50
ICU 98
Thrombotic
Non 6
Hosp 40
ICU 94
MACE
Non 16
Hosp 31
ICU 138

I don’t believe my gross characterization was unreasonable but apologize if you find it so.

The Covid positive group in this study included only patients that didn’t die in the first 30 days. Figure 4 and Supplementary Table 4 are counter intuitive in this data set (it seems to me) in that it seems the risk factors for 12 month cardiovascular risk for 30 day survivors appears to be independent of risk factors associated with fatality from Covid. The following are the Any Cardiac Outcomes HR’s from Table 4 for risk factor subgroups.

Younger than 65 1.58
Older than 65 1.68 (I don’t believe this is close to the difference in fatality risk)

Caucasian 1.64
Afram 1.68

Male 1.66
Female 1.46

Not Obese 1.73
Obese 1.54 (counter intuitive that Obese have lower risk)

Not Smoker 1.55
Smoker 1.61

No Hypertension 1.66
Hypertension 1.57 (counterintuitive)

No Diabetes 1.67
Diabetes 1.52 (counterintuitive)

No Kidney Disease 1.66
Kidney Disease 1.55 (counterintuitive)

No Hyperlipidemia 1.69
Hyperlipidemia 1.49 (counterintuitive)

There are potential causes of the above other than statistical variance but this would be good news for Dr Aaronson because his supposed risk factors might actually confer some protection. 🙂

As the authors point out the epidemiology may change as predominant variants change. There has been substantial change in variants since this data was collected and unclear if that substantially changes the epidemiological results of this study.

82. Jonathan Baxter Says:

#78 well then, I’m sure you don’t need to hear it from me: get some exercise. Life is far too short as it is.

I was explaining quantum computing to my teenage son the other day. He characterized the potential as “the second computing revolution”. I had to concede it’s a revolution that I probably won’t live to see, but that he probably will. You, of all people, deserve to see it too!

83. Retired Banker Says:

#78 When I was about your age, I got my best creative insights when I was out for a long run. So, exercise doesn’t need to be drudgery. If you think of exercise as a means of getting the creative juices flowing, that may be a greater incentive than “getting healthy”.

84. James Gallagher Says:

So bit late in the day here. But since this is a post about what we have all learned about Covid, and my family (me, wife & daughter) all tested positive earlier this year, very strongly (dark lines) on pcr tests, BUT NO SYMPTOMS WHATSOEVER, I do wonder if the UK vaccination scheme accidentally did a better job than the pure mRNA shots in the US which Scott has had.

We had a mix of Astra-Zenica and Pfizer over 3 doses. (2 AZ + Pz)

85. manorba Says:

Yeah i second the exercise thing . Scott, i obviously know nothing about your life, but if you accept advice from a 50+: take care of your body. i was in the same situation as you in my early forties (except the ADHD and undestanding a lot more things than i will ever do 😉 ) i got to the point that if i did stand up for more than 10 min my back was going to kill me. also my asthma was getting a lot worse, i didn’t sleep all that well and many other little issues.
On one day i decided that i needed to do something. changed my eating habits: for me it was much much less bread and pasta and pizza (sigh), a lot more green stuff and fruit, natural proteins and fats, and a general veto on processed foods, except on the cheat day.
i also started a daily morning routine of 25-30 min of light exercise that is still going on.
these things changed my life for the better almost in a heartbeat, to the point that i still follow my regime even if i am the laziest person in history.

tl;dr: you’re at the right age to fix things. just find your way, maybe check some dietologist and a trainer, but do it. it’s worth it.

86. Nancy Lebovitz Says:

Topologist Guy, I hope you post more about how you healed yourself.

87. Qwerty Says:

Ppl can catch covid multiple times! I’m going to continue wearing n95 masks in crowded places as long as the number of cases per 100000 ppl in my county is over 5. I got this metric from UCSF doctor Bob Wachter’s essay.

88. Qwerty Says:

I just want to second what Manorba says in comment #85. Prioritize what he says. Exercise, sleep, healthy eating. That will help with flourishing in the future. It is a real drag to deal with serious chronic problems. They really are preventable.

Hire someone good to enable these things. Or hire a team. Money superbly spent.

89. James Gallagher Says:

me #84

all tested positive earlier this year, very strongly (dark lines) on pcr tests, BUT NO SYMPTOMS WHATSOEVER

all tested positive earlier this year, very strongly (dark lines) on lateral flow tests, BUT NO SYMPTOMS WHATSOEVER.

90. Covid 9/22/22: The Joe Biden Sings | Don't Worry About the Vase Says:

[…] Scott Aaronson’s experience with Covid (from September 4, only saw it this week). This was not that similar to my experience. If I was experiencing what Scott experienced, I would have tested. […]

91. Joseph Shipman Says:

My COVID experience:
1) vaccination in June 2021
2) caught it on a flight home from Las Vegas in June 2022 (day 0)
3) Mild cold symptoms day 1, mild tiredness and fever day 2, significant fever and tiredness and mild muscle aches and a positive test day 3, as well as wildly fluctuating blood O2 saturation levels and a fainting spell, started on Ivermectin and azithromycin and increased usual Zinc and Vitamin D supplements
4) Very tired day 5, slight fever, cold and flulike symptoms went away, slightly tired day 6, completely normal day 7, but kept testing positive until day 10.
5) broke ankle 13 days ago, 6 visits to doctors and test labs followed, went to hospital yesterday for surgery to stabilize it so it could heal perfectly, surgery cancelled due to positive COVID test! No COVID symptoms at all but must have picked up the germs at a previous medical visit and my system was busy dealing with them.

92. Julia K. Says:

My kids and I just tested positive yesterday, for the first time ever. We caught it at a birthday party.

The worst part for us was that we also caught viral gastroenteritis at the same party, which went through us a day sooner on average. My husband had that one the worst and we had to go to urgent care, but he’s still negative for covid, for now.

I had the symptoms for both hit me on the same day. It was very bad, but not record-breaking. I get about that sick with something once every five years. Having kids running around made it worse to cope with this time, because I couldn’t reliably relax. For example, I couldn’t go up to bed because my husband was too sick to watch the kids alone, and if I tried to eat my cup of ice chips while lying on the sofa, my 1yo would try to take it out of my hands.

The next day, once I tested positive for covid, I got a telehealth appointment within a few hours. I looked up the Paxlovid eligibility requirements and had a speech all prepared, but the doctor offered it to me before I could even ask! I guess there’s plenty now. I was already feeling better before taking it – I think the viral gastroenteritis was more severe than the covid – but I have a history of other “long” infections, so my hope is that Paxlovid will reduce my chances of long covid.

Our family had been more cautious during the pandemic than anyone else I know (working smarter, not harder, of course). But we eased up considerably once the Omicron wave passed.

Back when Delta made it clear that covid was never going away, my goals shifted to not catching it a) while pregnant, b) before we were vaccinated, c) before effective treatments were available, or d) during a wave when hospital beds and treatments were scarce. So, now was a pretty good time for us to finally get it.

I do still look at local hospitalization rates to predict when a wave is happening, and take more precautions during the top 20% of a wave. But covid is super low here right now, so we haven’t been taking any precautions.

I’m glad I called around and got my bivalent shot on the very first day it was available, which meant I had close to full efficacy by the time I got covid. And I’m glad my kids, both under 5, have had two of the recently approved Pfizer shots. Sure, they’re at very low risk of severe illness given infection, but infection is so common that it’s worth it.

In the US, among diseases that we have vaccines for, flu actually puts the highest absolute number of kids ages 0-4 in the hospital each year. Covid is second. Switching to counting cases, pertussis is the third biggest threat. All other vaccine-preventable diseases are lower. We get all our shots, but I prioritize them differently than the CDC and delay some of the lower-priority ones in favor of flu and covid shots as soon as they are eligible and seasonally appropriate. (Yes, I factor in variable vaccine efficacy. And yes, it is appropriate for the CDC schedule to maximize compliance from busy working parents and to prioritize diseases where herd immunity is possible.)

It’s been a hard pandemic, and I’m not happy we caught covid, but we delayed it at least as long as we needed to. I regret very few of my decisions along the way. So now I’m going to sit back and bask in the triple glories of delightful birthday party memories, bivalent antibodies, and Paxlovid.

93. Ariel Says:

Scott #61
You say a 1% fatality risk you can avoid, you should avoid.
But in fact, the Pfizer study itself showed *increased* all cause mortality in the
This is an elephant in the room the covid religious avoid…besides
the more obvious one that you still get a disease after four shots of a vaccine? And choosing to believe it means you’d have it worse if you didn’t get the vaccine, vs the conclusion that the vaccine doesn’t work?

I.e. if I told you in 2019, before covid religion took over the educated west, there’s a vaccine for a disease and you still get the disease after four shots, which of the two conclusions would you tend to?

In any case, I didn’t get any shots, did an antibody test in March 2021 showing I got it at some point in the past; I had a 3-day cold in Dec 2020 that was pretty standard, maybe it was that.

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