A massive study of millions of veterans has found that cardiovascular damage from SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, can be long-lasting.
“In an analysis of more than 11 million U.S. veterans’ health records, researchers found the risk of 20 different heart and vessel maladies was substantially increased in veterans who had COVID-19 1 year earlier, compared with those who didn’t,” according to Science.org. “The risk rose with severity of initial disease and extended to every outcome the team examined, including heart attacks, arrhythmias, strokes, cardiac arrest, and more. Even people who never went to the hospital had more cardiovascular disease than those who were never infected.”
Eric Topol, a cardiologist at Scripps Research, told Science.org that the results are “stunning … worse than I expected, for sure.”
“All of these are very serious disorders. … If anybody ever thought that COVID was like the flu this should be one of the most powerful data sets to point out it’s not,” he said, adding the study “may be the most impressive Long COVID paper we have seen to date.”
The new study came as the Omicron variant appears to be ebbing, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been front and center since the virus arrived in America in January 2020, says the day we can all ditch the face masks could come “soon.”
“As we get out of the full-blown pandemic phase of COVID-19, which we are certainly heading out of, these decisions will increasingly be made on a local level rather than centrally decided or mandated. There will also be more people making their own decisions on how they want to deal with the virus,” Fauci said in an interview with the Financial Times.
Fauci added that he hoped restrictions would end “soon.”
“I hope we are looking at a time when we have enough people vaccinated and enough people with protection from previous infection that the Covid restrictions will soon be a thing of the past,” he said.
But Fauci’s optimism is not shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which still urges masks even as a growing number of states, including California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois — all led by Democrats — begin lifting mask mandates.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said this week that the agency will not loosen the requirements.
“Right now, we still have about 290,000 cases every single day, and our hospitalization rates now are higher than they even were at the peak of our Delta surge,” Walensky said Tuesday in a radio interview with WYPR’s Tom Hall. “So in this moment — while we are looking ahead and planning ahead, and we’ll continue to evaluate and follow the science — our recommendations are consistent with encouraging students to wear well-fitting masks.”
Still, the White House, acknowledging the fact that Americans are weary of mandates, walked back its previous criticism of Democratic governors altering their mandates, saying states will decide their own regulations.
“These states, I think it’s important to note, they still allow for decisions to be made by local school districts,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in a press briefing this week.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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