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It isn’t just deaths from COVID-19 — there’s also the matter of long-term misery from what it does to your body

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Health workers move a COVID-19 patient at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas on July 2, 2020 as the virus threatens to overwhelm the city's vast medical system Mark Felix AFP/File

As the United States hits the 200,000 mark for Americans killed by the coronavirus, experts say that those numbers don’t fully capture the number of Americans whose quality of life has been destroyed.

Surviving the coronavirus is just the first step in a long line of complications many are left with once they make it through the worst of the virus, two experts explained in the Washington Post.

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“Even as cases decline, it is possible we could soon be grappling with the burden of prolonged or permanent organ damage among the millions of people who have survived COVID-19,” the report explained. “There’s still a lot we don’t know about the long-term effects of this disease, but they could cripple not just these ‘survivors’ but also our health-care system and our economy, too.”

According to the latest research, the coronavirus does serious damage to blood vessels other than just the lungs, which is far more dangerous than what experts first thought. Some survivors are left desperate for lung transplants.

“William Li, recently co-authored a study in the New England Journal of Medicine comparing the lungs of COVID-19 patients to those of patients killed by influenza, and to healthy lungs,” the report explained. “The coronavirus was found to infect and inflict serious damage to the vascular endothelium — the single layer of cells that line the blood vessels of organs such as our brain, kidneys, heart and lungs. Coronavirus patients also have a much higher likelihood of experiencing clots in these blood vessels.”

It answers a lot of questions for people still suffering the impact of the virus for months. It’s been coined “long-haulers syndrome,” where patients still struggle to taste and smell, but also cope with “brain fog, trouble breathing, fatigue, aches, hair loss and elevated heart rate months after clearing the viral infection.”

More than 20 million people have “recovered” could also be living with serious damage to their arteries and veins carrying blood around their bodies. It can cause strokes, heart attacks, atherosclerosis or myocarditis.

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A study published by JAMA Cardiology showed an abnormal heart in 78 out of 100 people who recovered from COVID. In 60 out of 100 people there was inflammation of their heart. There were no preexisting conditions prior to COVID.

While it’s something that will leave people forever marred, it also means that the pandemic is going to hit the U.S. healthcare system.

“Before the pandemic, such diseases were responsible for a third of all deaths and a sixth of all health spending,” the report explained. “Cardiovascular disease costs the United States more than $500 billion a year. Within 15 years, that tab was expected to exceed $1 trillion. If these conditions proliferate among post-COVID-19 people in the prime of their life, the human and economic costs would be staggering.”

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Policymakers in Washington haven’t even started to understand what we’ll face once the pandemic is over and a vaccine is distributed. There aren’t any therapies that can help protect people’s hearts and vascular systems. When blood vessels contribute to every organ in the body, damaging them means a lifetime of health problems.

“It’s hard to imagine that COVID-19 could have an even bigger impact on public health — and the global economy — than it already has,” the report concluded. “But the vascular consequences of the disease, which we’re only beginning to discover, could make this first wave of the pandemic look mild. The work of preventing this second pandemic can’t begin soon enough.”

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Read the full piece at the Washington Post.


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CNBC’s Rick Santelli ripped as ‘psychopath’ for on-air ‘meltdown’ over COVID-19 restrictions

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CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin and Rick Santelli clashed over coronavirus restrictions, setting off another round of discussion on social media.

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Federal judge says Trump pardon of Michael Flynn may have been ‘too broad’: report

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A trial judge has raised the possibility that the federal judge overseeing the case of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn could find that President Trump's pardon of Flynn may be "too broad," according to The National Law Journal.

The comments “came unexpectedly” during a Freedom of Information Act hearing about releasing documents from special counsel Robert Mueller's office, according to BuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold.

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2020 Election

Here’s why Republicans who are calling for a Trump dictatorship should not be taken lightly — and aren’t going away

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The United States dodged an authoritarian bullet when former Vice President Joe Biden, a centrist Democrat, became president-elect, winning 306 electoral votes and defeating defeated President Donald Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote. But when Republican Lin Wood, a pro-Trump attorney who has been fighting the election results in Georgia, implores Trump to impose martial law and elections officials are receiving death threats for acknowledging Biden as president-elect, it is painfully obvious that there is a strong appetite for fascism in parts of the United States. And journalist Sasha Abramsky, in an article published by The Nation on December 4, warns that Republicans who are openly calling for fascism should not be taken lightly.

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