Expert Calls Out Governments on Long COVID, Infectious Danger, Push for Pandemics Preparedness

Dr. Phillip Alvelda: The Danger of Long COVID, Vaccines and Pandemics Preparedness

In a candid discussion with INET's Lynn Parramore, Dr. Phillip Alvelda highlights the imminent dangers of long COVID, criticizing governments and health agencies for ongoing preventable suffering and deaths. Think you've grasped the full extent of COVID's ongoing impact? Think again. As Americans shrug off vaccines and forget indoor air quality, the virus stealthily continues its destructive path. This was pretty much inevitable without new guidance urging a change in strategy and nobody telling us the full truth. The danger is clear and present: COVID isn't merely a respiratory illness; it's a multi-dimensional threat impacting brain function, attacking almost all of the body's organs, producing elevated risks of all kinds, and weakening our ability to fight off other diseases. Reinfections are thought to produce cumulative risks, and Long COVID is on the rise. Unfortunately, Long COVID is now being considered a long-term chronic illness — something many people will never fully recover from.

Lynn Parramore: You've raised concerns about Long COVID rates surging under the radar. The National Academy's new 265-page report is eye-opening, listing up to 200 symptoms affecting nearly every organ, hurting your ability to work, lasting months to years. They say cases of Long COVID are rising in 2024. How is this impacting people's lives?

Phillip Alveda: Some people can get Long COVID, and maybe it ages them a little bit, but it doesn't change them very much. But for others, their lives are devastated. The daughter of a friend was infected in 2020 and started having seizures. She had to drop out of school and couldn't exercise. It took her four years to recover. She was just getting back to health, but a strenuous workout, a few late nights studying, and stress triggered more seizures and a setback. A recent JAMA study found that US adults with Long COVID are more prone to depression and anxiety - and they're struggling to afford treatment. Given the virus' impact on the brain, I guess the link to mental health issues isn't surprising.

Alveda: There are all kinds of weird things going on that could be related to COVID's cognitive effects. I'll give you an example. We've noticed since the start of the pandemic that accidents are increasing. A report published by TRIP, a transportation research nonprofit, found that traffic fatalities in California increased by 22% from 2019 to 2022. They also found the likelihood of being killed in a traffic crash increased by 28% over that period. Other data, like studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, came to similar conclusions, reporting that traffic fatalities hit a 16-year high across the country in 2021. The TRIP report also looked at traffic fatalities on a national level and found that traffic fatalities increased by 19%.

Parramore: How do vaccines safeguard us from both the short-term and long-term effects of COVID?

Alveda: The latest boosters/vaccines do offer some protection from catching the disease. And while it varies somewhat from variant to variant, that starts at about 60%, peaking 2 weeks after inoculation and lasts for about 4 months, and then after that declines at about 4% decrease in effectiveness per month thereafter. What they do very well is prevent bad outcomes in the acute phase of infection, when one is most likely - though not certain - to have symptoms. What they do poorly is prevent bad outcomes in the post-acute phase whether one has had symptoms or not. Recent studies have shown that the very latest booster/vaccine only offers a 20% - 25% reduction in the likelihood of Long COVID. And if you're not current on your boosters, you have essentially no additional protection from Long COVID. It's this last bit of information that public health agencies are failing to openly and clearly disclose, and most governments continue to pretend otherwise, having yet to take meaningful action to stem a growing post-COVID pandemic of disability.

Parramore: How would you grade Biden on how he's handled the pandemic?

Alveda: I'd give him an F. In some ways, he fails worse than Trump because more people have actually died from COVID on his watch than on Trump's, though blame has to be shared with Republican governors and legislators who picked ideological fights opposing things like responsible masking, testing, vaccination, and ventilation improvements for partisan reasons. Biden's administration has continued to promote the false idea that the vaccine is all that is needed and you don't need to worry about anything else. Biden stopped the funding for surveillance and he stopped the funding for renewing vaccine advancement research. Trump allowed 400,000 people to die unnecessarily. The Biden administration policies have allowed more than 800,000 to 900,000 and counting. I would further note that all the while, the White House has maintained the very strictest abatements to protect people who live and work there from the virus: In order to enter the White House, they have to have had no symptoms for 14 days, the latest booster vaccinations up-to-date, and a negative rapid test. They have nine or better fresh air exchanges per hour and all filters are upgraded to MERV 13. They have also installed 220 nanometer Germicidal UV lamps. After a positive test, you have to have a PCR Test negative to return to work. The White House admitted quietly on CSPAN that the protections were still in place in July of 2023 when an Israeli delegation was not admitted after testing positive for COVID, after claiming with much fanfare the prior April that the pandemic was over and that it was safe to return to work.

Parramore: All those precautions are certainly not happening at the workplaces of the vast majority of Americans and in our schools.

Alveda: No.

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