Tuesday, January 9, 2024

It's Airborne, and It Can Cause an Immune Deficiency

Let's look at the claim that Covid should not be compared to AIDS or referred to as "Airborne AIDS".

One concern about comparing the two is that it makes Covid seem more frightening than it might actually be in a maximizing stance, overplaying the dangers, which could then lead people to turn a deaf ear as it sometimes does when anti-drug campaigns put pot and crack in the same camp. Lots of viruses affect the immune system without the comparison being made. However I think people comparing it aren't just looking at the immune system similarity, but also how it hibernates and then comes back to be even more devastating.

Another concern about comparing is from the other end, that Covid does so much more than deplete the immune system. That's just one of its many tricks.

What we don't know - and likely won't know for another decade or so - is if it ends up being as deadly later on. For people suffering from Long Covid, or really for anyone who ever got Covid (since it doesn't appear to clear the body), the comparison is terrifying. Two of my three kids have had Covid once. The idea that it's possible they have a condition that could have horrific effects that sudden strikes them makes me want to spend more time with them and make their lives as enjoyable as possible in case they're struck short. And, really, that possibility that our kids might not make it home after we kiss them good-bye in the morning is always there, but we really don't like thinking about it! That longterm prospect also makes me unwavering in my advocacy for N95s. 

And isn't it better to be safe than sorry?

I lean towards we should be aware of the similarities and take simple precautions. For my money, the people that might question the science and ignore it all if it's overstated are likely already ignoring the entire pandemic. 

The political trajectory (and media) around refusing to acknowledge the problem is strikingly similar and should be raised to the light. Reminding people of what it was like - particularly people under 40 - as deaths mounted in large part because a preventable disease was ignored, might spur faster action on this pandemic. Acknowledging the cruel and indifferent attitude towards people with HIV and AIDS could help change the course for people with Covid and Long Covid. That piece of history makes it crystal clear that government and media don't always have the public's best interests in mind, and they don't always tell the truth, particularly leading up to an election. The reality that the most effective change was just a public health education campaign that wasn't afraid to talk about HIV and was able to convinced people to have safer sex by wearing condoms, points to a very likely possibility that a public health education campaign around Covid could successfully convince people of the wisdom of wearing an N95 to stop the spread while cleaner air can be put in place. I mean, right now we have some governments telling parents to SEND SICK KIDS TO SCHOOL without mentioning masks or Covid (or RSV or flu) at a time when hospitals are dealing with another serious peak of Covid cases. By comparing AIDS and Covid, we might recognize where we're going horribly wrong.

Where the comparison between AIDS and Covid is also particularly useful and justified is in testing the antiretroviral therapy that took the death rate down dramatically and which might be adapted for Covid. China started using one of the drugs, Azvudine, for Covid in July 2022 with some positive results

The comparison isn't precise, for sure. I get that. It's not the same disease. But the term "Airborne AIDS" just might make a simplified enough connection that helps people understand the importance of wearing a barrier to protect them and their kids. People over 40 might remember the campaigns that explained that you're not just sleeping with Frank, but with everyone Frank has ever slept with, and everyone they ever slept with. Even though he's only had one partner, you can't be sure that that his ex didn't have unprotected sex with someone with HIV. You just can't know. So wear a condom. Similarly, you can't possibly know if that person next to you, who looks perfectly healthy, isn't unwittingly spreading Covid. My go to question when my kids come over is, "Have you been around anyone while unmasked in the past two weeks." I trust them to mask, but I don't necessarily trust their friends or the friends of their friends. 

And here's Daniel Brittain Dugger recent take on the topic:

PLAGUE. Forty Two Million infected individuals is a fucking plague, and this is how you behave? As a member of the HIV community, who wishes to live in a functional society, I believe it prudent to draw parallels. Additionally, it is quite easy to observe that history has repeated itself, in every way possible. Randy Shilts would agree, as well. 

There was no excuse, in this country and in this time, for the spread of a deadly new epidemic. For this was a time in which the United States boasted the world’s most sophisticated medicine and the world’s most extensive public health system, geared to eliminate such pestilence from our national life. When the virus appeared, the world’s richest nation housed the most lavishly financed scientific research establishments - both inside the vast governmental health bureaucracy and in other institutions - to investigate new diseases and quickly bring them under control. And making sure the government researchers and public health agencies did their jobs were the world’s most unfettered and aggressive media, the public’s watchdogs. People died while public health authorities and the political leaders who guided them refused to take the tough measures necessary to curb the epidemic’s spread, opting for political expediency over the public health. 

Like with HIV, SARS-Cov-2 has a 4H club. With HIV, it was Homosexuals, Hemophiliacs, Haitians, and Heroin users. With SARS-Cov-2, it is Hypertensives, Hyperglycemics, those suffering from Hypoimmunity, and those with a High BMI. 

Then, there is the hallmark of a HIV infection that is shared, that of CD4 depletion, known since September 28, 2020. Described again in March, 2022.  And in September, 2022, Covid-19 was added to Merck Medical's website under Acquired Lymphocytopenia, not Transient Lymphocytopenia, as some would suggest. 

Acquired lymphocytopenia: The most common causes include: Protein-energy undernutrition, HIV infection, COVID-19, Certain other viral infections. Patients with COVID-19 also frequently have lymphocytopenia (35 to 83% of patients). Lower lymphocyte counts portend a poor prognosis and an increased likelihood of requiring ICU admission and of dying from the disease. The cause of the lymphocytopenia is not completely understood, but COVID-19 can directly infect lymphocytes, and a cytokine-related apoptosis of the cells is likely. 

An unwillingness to draw parallels has imperiled the immune competence and cognition of the community member's family members and clinicians, living with a chronic SARS-Cov-2 infection. Those living with HIV Associated Neurocognitive Decline may find themselves in the care of someone living with its functional equivalent. Cerebrospinal Fluid Offers Clues to Post-Covid 'Brain Fog': 'All participants underwent an in-person cognitive testing battery with a neuropsychologist, applying equivalent criteria used for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND).' Surprisingly, the researchers found that 13 of the 22 participants (59%) with cognitive symptoms met HAND criteria, compared with seven of the 10 control participants (70%).

Thanks, abject morons. Thanks, a lot. LMAO.

ETA: A video from Chris Cuomo talking to Deborah Birx, former Director of the CDC's Division of Global HIV/AIDS and, more recently, former White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, explaining the Covid response failures that put us in this horrific place. Cuomo asks, "Now that she's out, what does she know and what can she discuss about Long Covid and these comparisons being made with HIV/AIDS?" She said, 
"You can't use 19th century symptomatic tracking of the virus when you're in the 21st century. . . . It was never flu; it will never be flu. . . . We didn't act fast enough, and we didn't test fast enough. . . . Long Covid predates any of the Covid vaccines. . . . We're learning something new about what this virus is capable of doing every single month. . . . The reason the comparison to HIV is important, because HIV was also asymptomatic. I mean, you couldn't see the virus through symptoms because peopel were infected for 7, 8, 9 years before they developed symptoms. But HIV quietly destroyed our immune system. And we learned a lot about immunology from HIV. There's a lot of destruction that mild and moderate Covid can do that is unseen, just like HIV was destroying our immune system. But what came out of that is brilliant science that changed how we treated HIV, and, if you're diagnosed today, you can live a very normal lifespan. People not only survive, but thrive. We need to get to the place where people with Long Covid cannot only survive but thrive." 

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