Even though we appear to be at (or near) the beginning of the end of the coronavirus’ stranglehold on our lives, there is still much we don’t know about Covid-19.
One of the biggest mysteries is the so-called “long-haul symptoms,” in which some patients take weeks to shake the effects of the virus. A smaller number of people have remained ill for even longer periods.
The National Institutes of Health suggested in December that between 10% and 30% of people who get Covid-19 deal with long-term symptoms — though it’s still too early to define these symptoms thoroughly. The NIH will spend $1 billion over four years to study this.
A high-profile case of long-haul symptoms made news Monday when the family of Texas Roadhouse CEO and founder Kent Taylor announced that he killed himself last week, unable to withstand the worsening tinnitus that Covid-19 brought on.
“Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable,” his family said in a statement. Essentially, he survived the virus itself. But its after-effects, as his family described it, were unbearable.
The death of Taylor, 65, should have highlighted his persistence in starting a nationwide restaurant chain. Or the fact that he gave up his salary and a $1 million bonus last year as the virus erased business at his company’s 600 locations. Or the fact that he donated $5 million to assist employees during the year.
Or the fact that he failed many times over many years to convince investors of his business plan’s merits until a cardiologist signed on in 1993. Even so, three of his first five Texas Roadhouse locations failed. Only after tinkering with the menu did success come, making Taylor the multi-millionaire leader of a publicly traded company that continues to grow today.
Instead, he is a prime example of the dangerous, and largely unresearched, side effects that Covid-19 leaves with some who get it.
The Washington Post reported there is evidence that the virus can worsen tinnitus, which is an ongoing ringing or buzzing in the ears. In November a study published in Frontiers in Public Health said that 40 percent of tinnitus patients who got Covid-19 said it got worse after having the virus.
There is good news for people with long-haul coronavirus symptoms. A number of them report, surprisingly, that getting the vaccines eliminated their health problems.
A New York City woman endured eight months of sweats, insomnia, fatigue, brain fog and muscle pain after the got the virus. There was no letup until her second vaccine shot in February. Within 36 hours, the symptoms were gone and have not returned. Medical specialists are unable to explain this.
Thankfully, there have been few adverse reactions to vaccinations. The short-term looks bright, but the long haul remains a mystery.
Jack Ryan, Enterprise-Journal