The Mysteries of Long COVID

The Mysteries of Long COVID

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

When the original strain of COVID-19 arrived in spring 2020, a pandemic soon swept the country.

By far most survived COVID. But hundreds of thousands did not. American deaths now number well over 1 million.

Amid the tragedy, there initially was some hope that the pernicious effects of the disease would all disappear upon recovery among the nearly 99 percent who survived the initial infection.

Vaccinations by late 2020 were promised to end the pandemic for good. But they did not. New mutant strains, while more infectious, were said to be less lethal, thus supposedly resulting in spreading natural immunity while causing fewer deaths from infection.

But that too was not quite so.

Instead, sometimes the original symptoms, sometimes frightening new ones, not only lingered after the acute phase, but were of increased morbidity.

Now two-and-a-half years after the onset of the pandemic, there may be more than 20 million Americans who have had are are still suffering from what is currently known as “long COVID”—a less acute version but one ultimately as debilitating.

Some pessimistic analyses suggest well over 4 million once-active Americans are now disabled from this often-ignored pandemic and out of the workforce.

Perhaps 10-30 percent of those originally infected with COVID-19 have some lingering symptoms six months to a year after the initial infection. And they are quite physically sick, desperate to get well, and certainly not crazy.

So far, no government Marshall plan exists to cure long COVID.

While we know the nature of the virus well by now, no one fathoms what causes long COVID’s overwhelming fatigue, flu-like symptoms, neuralgic impairment, cardiac and pulmonary damage, and an array of eerie problems from extended loss of taste and smell to vertigo, neuropathy, and “brain fog.”

“Post-viral fatigue” has long been known to doctors. Many who get the flu or other viruses like mononucleosis sometimes take weeks or even months to recover after the initial acute symptoms retire.

But no one knows why long COVID often seems to last far longer and with more disability.

Is its persistence due to one theory that SARS-CoV-2 is a uniquely insidious, engineered virus? Or do vaccines and antivirals only help to curb infection, while possibly encouraging more unpredictable mutations?

Who gets long COVID, and why and how is, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

Those who nearly die from acute COVID-19 can descend into long COVID. But then again so can those with minimal or few initial acute symptoms.

The obese with comorbidities are prone to long COVID, but triathletes and marathon runners are, too.

The elderly, the mature, the middle-aged, adolescents and children can all get long COVID. Those with downregulated and impaired immune systems fight long COVID. But then again so do those with upregulated and prior robust immunity, as well as people with severe allergies.

Since early 2020, no one has deciphered the cause, although numerous Nobel Prizes await anyone who unlocks its mysteries.

Does a weakened but not vanquished SARS-CoV-2 virus hide out and linger, causing an unending immune response that sickens patients?

Or does COVID-19 so weaken some long-haulers to the degree that old viruses, long in remission, suddenly flare up again, sickening the host with an unending case, of say, mononucleosis?

Or is the problem autoimmunity?

Is there something unique to the nature of COVID-19 that damages the vital on-and-off buttons of the immune system, causing the body to become stuck in overdrive, as it needlessly sends out its own poisons against itself?

Without knowledge of what explains long COVID, it is hard for researchers to find a cure.

After all, is the answer to slow down the immune system to dampen the immune storm, or to enhance it to root out lingering viruses?

Do more vaccines help or worsen long COVID?

Is the solution some magical new drug, or discovering off-label uses of old, reliable medicines? Can a good diet, moderate exercise and patience finally wear out long COVID? Or is its course too unpredictable or near permanent and chronic?

Is long COVID a single phenomenon, or a cluster of maladies, each manifesting according to one’s own genetic makeup, particular history of past illness, and unique reaction to the initial infection?

If we have few answers, we do have an idea about the costs.

Long COVID may be one of many reasons why in a recession, labor paradoxically still remains scarce. Millions likely stay home in utter disbelief that they are still battling long COVID. Others isolate in deadly fear of getting either the acute or chronic form of the illness.

The social costs to America of this hidden pandemic in lost wages and productivity, family and work disruption, and expensive medical care are unknown.

But they are likely enormous, still growing—and mostly ignored.

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26 thoughts on “The Mysteries of Long COVID”

  1. I take it there are still no positive updates in VDH’s (apparent) ongoing battle with long covid. I certainly hope he kicks it soon.


    Sad that more research hasn’t been performed on this anomaly of long covid. It would be interesting to see how many long covid sufferes had previous bouts of a severe infectious disease i.e. mononucleosis or lymes disease vs. those that have not. Also, what is the percentage of long covid sufferes that are fully vaxed vs. not vaxed at all. Good luck to you Mr. Hanson and I speak for many that wish your long covid journey to be done with.

  3. There is probably some truth to your long COVID theory. Labor shortage is very real in the medical and retail industry. Not sure if this applied to other industries especially where pays are higher. I’d say, you can’t expect things to go back to normal after 2 years of shutdown, which destroyed a whole class of individuals from the unskilled to the small business person, and early retirement. Don’t discount hopelessness and fear as a results of chaos – crime, inflation, no law and order. Restore hope if you want people to work!

    PS. don’t rely on companies’ job opennings as an indication of labor shortage. A lot of them are fake. I know this first hand.

  4. You question: Do more vaccines help or worsen long COVID?
    Would be interesting to compare the incidence of ‘long covid’ in those unvaccinated versus vaccinated. This is the only way to answer that very vital question.
    Possibly, long COVID is not (solely) due to after-effects of COVID but to the actual vaccine side-effects. The truth will be impossible to glean due to BigPharma’s vested interest in the vaccines.

  5. It’s the vaccine. It’s the retroviruses in all the vaccines for years. It’s a huge cover up. Read Judy Mikovits’ three books Plague, Plague of Corruption, and Ending Plague. Read RJK Jr.’s book The Real Anthony Fauci. read Dissolving Illusions, by Suzanne Humpries. Read Toxic Legacy by Stephanie Seneff. It’s not rocket science. It’s a giant fraud perpetrated on the public.

  6. I’m a big fan of William Li’s Eat to Beat Disease, but I’m sure Dr. Li would readily admit that (as Hanson outlines) there’s just so much we don’t yet know about COVID/etc.

  7. I’m pretty certain you meant to say, “Long Vaccine”. We are living through ever-increasing severe adverse events, sky-rocketing excess mortality, and now for the second year in a row a falling expected life-span. Due to COVID-19? Not likely.

    1. It turns out the Pfizer clinical trials are deeply flawed, the ones they had sealed for seventy-five years but were forced to release.
    2. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System is showing a growing number of adverse events and it is organized to massively under report cases.
    3. Any other vaccine would have been pulled, yet the FDA continues to approve the jab for younger patients who are not at risk.
    4.The CDC changed the definition of vaccine because the COVID-19 vaccine did not keep people from getting or spreading COVID-19.
    5. The media, social media, and healthcare institutions have actively dismissed and de-platformed domain expert dissent.

    It is becoming increasing clear that the mRNA vaccine which was supposed to be isolated in the deltoid. It did not. The spike proteins were supposed to exit the body. They aren’t. The shots are compromising our immune systems leading to the unexpected adverse events and excess mortality mentioned above.

    We can figure out the why later. Right now we need to get folks to not get boosted, or at least pause as more evidence from around the world comes in.

    Thanks for what you do. You are at the point-of-the-Western Civilization-spear. Your voice-of-reason is critically important.

  8. Is long covid due to infection or could it actually be vaccine injury? Seeing as all the vaccinated get covid anyway that then becomes the perfect cover for what might actually be vaccine problem.

    Is there a difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated in the percent with long covid? Is the question even being studied? Could we even trust the CDC or FDA to report the data if there was any, given the impossible situation the wrong result would present for them? I know the answer already. Any study allowed to be published will show worse long covid in the unvaccinated…those bad people.

    1. You asked, ” Could we even trust the CDC or FDA…? In my view the trust they once had with the general public has sadly and deservedly gone the same way as our trust with other weaponized institutions (eg., FBI, CIA, IRS, NEA, universities, etc., etc.). Until we reestablish ourselves as a nation of laws equally applied, that trust will not return. Only then then can shed our de facto Banana Republic status.

      To do this, we need a giant “spotlight” to shine into these disgraced institutions. This should be done with honest, above board hearings by patriotic congress people and senators (I believe there are still some left.). It should be something as comprehensive as the Nuremberg Trials we in post WWII Germany. A pursuit in true fact finding as to how we devolved as we have in less than twenty years.

      (Note: My reference to the Nuremberg trials is not meant to imply that the our corrupt institutional leaders and political leaders are Nazi’s, but rather the transformation Germany experienced and what we have experienced in the U.S. are both, if not equal, still very, very pervasive.)

      If as a result of the 2022 midterm elections, we begin on the necessary introspective path that I hope, other western nations will have the courage to do the same, I believe.

      1. I agree that the loss of trust in our medical institutions is the biggest casualty of the pandemic. I’d been worried about the infiltration of businessmen into medicine generally for years. Covid showed clearly how bad it is already. The interests of a business are not even remotely aligned with the interests of the patient. Bad health is good for business. Treatments are good for business. Cures are not. Long drug trials are bad for business. Emergency authorizations for drugs without testing are good for business. This is a disaster for patients.

        Unfortunately the evidence is that medicine is totally captured by big Pharma now which has come to control a shocking percentage of the entire budgets of the CDC and the FDA. So control of grant money for research, treatment protocols, what treatments insurance will cover, all of it is in the wrong hands. I’m not seeing the way out.

  9. For someone so well informed about politics, this is really disappointing. I recommend you look into Dr Peter McCullough, David Malone and Mike Yeadon. The vaccine is a bigger problem than “long covid.”

  10. The knowledge of Victor Davis Hanson is overwhelming. He has struck to the cord of the Covid pandemic and the government responses. I have had Covid along with heart damage. It is truly discouraging to know that our government is concentrating on things like calling President Trump a traitor instead of the things that help the nation

  11. Unfortunately long Vax, more than likely. None of my unjabbed friends have any health issues. Only the Jabbed.

    There are folks working on protocols to help the vax injured. We are all praying you get better soon.


    As noted Dr. Hansen in a prior article long covid, is strikingly similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms experienced by millions in recent decades. Those tested almost universally showed Low Dopamine levels, a marker that was not assigned sufficient clinical importance to warrant further investigation, even though research has demonstrated that Motivation is a benefit of adequate Dopamine levels. Two items: A search of Pub Med revealed that a researcher had completed a Meta Analysis Of Covid cases and postulated that at with the immediate onset of Covid (first hours,days),when fever etc. was first demonstrated that the Brain was subject to attack by the Virus. If so, then that involves the Substantia Negra (Pars Compacta And Pars Reticulla)where Dopamine is produced And Begins distribution in the brain and body. Second, although much is written about recovery, mentally or physically, Much is not known. “Deadlift Flu” is a colloquialism used by mostly strong healthy individuals who engage in a specific Powerlifting movement, with actual weight being very relative, describing the next day exhaustion and depletion felt subjectively . The speculation is that mitochondria, Muscle reticulum and fiber etc, throughout the body are in recovery. Cognitively, what processes are in play to allow some to concentrate and write and memorize for 12-15 hours a day, Every day, and others not? Glial cells, Dopamine and Epinephrine Levels restored ? What did The Virus destroy?

  13. Have the Congress subpoenaed all the collaborators in US with Institute of Virology in Wuhan to answer questions and preserve records? US should investigate the origin of SARS-CoV-2. They may not able to get answer from Institute of Virology, but they can get from their American collaborators.

  14. Dear Mr. Hanson, I am a long Covid patient as well. It has been since August 2020. I still suffer from loss and altered taste and smell, get Covid fog, and the worst is the fatigue. I am the CEO of an Internal Medicine group. I did not get Covid at work, but from one of my young adult children living at home. Two weeks before I got Covid I tested fir my 6th Degree Master Black Belt in TaeKwonDo and now can barely walk a mile. Now when I give presentations and speak publicly, I have to let my audience know that sometimes I will go blank and it may take several seconds to regather thoughts and/or remember that thought. It is embarrassing. Many days I come home from work and have to go to bed where my body feels like lead and my mind of mush. I call this “Covid Crashing”. It can last a few hours to a few days. My hope and wish is for someone to find some answers. My profession mandated the shoots and I had one booster. Six weeks after the booster, I got Covid again. I am in rush for any additional boosters. I pray you, along with your resources can find some answers. I have never been one to give up but find it getting more difficult to continue to hope for relief. Your article described long Covid and it’s effects very well. Many of the questions you posed in your article are similar if not the same that I have asked. I pray for us both. God Bless and keep up the great work in your search for truth. Sincerely.

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