Since Jan. 21, more than 4.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been documented, and more than 146,000 people have died of the disease, according the Centers for Disease Control’s COVID Data Tracker website. Those numbers were last updated, the website indicates, at 5:45 p.m. yesterday (Monday, July 27).
CDC says Texas has reported 381,656 cases, behind California with 453,659 cases and Florida with 418,844 cases.
But, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services website, as of 4:35 p.m. Monday, July 27, Texas has confirmed 385,923 cases of COVID-19. There have been 5,713 deaths from the virus while an estimated 229,107 people have recovered. (The difference in cases reported based on the CDC website and the TDSHS website might be due to the lag in those numbers getting from the White House to the CDC, now that the Trump administration has ordered hospitals to report to the White House rather than the CDC, or it could be that the CDC hasn’t updated its numbers since Texas updated its method of counting fatalities.)
Based on the numbers from these two government websites, about 3.7 percent of the people who contracted COVID-19 nationwide have died. The CDC gives no data on number of recoveries and number of still active cases.
In Texas, the numbers show that 1.4 percent of those who have contracted the virus have died, while 59.2 percent have recovered. Another 38 percent of the cases are still “active,” according to DSHS. (And yes, I know those numbers don’t add up to 100 percent; don’t blame me. I used a calculator to determine percentages based on DSHS numbers. Ask them about the discrepancy.)
The point of all those numbers and all that math is this: Yes, the vast number of people who contract COVID-19 do recover. It’s something that anti-maskers and it’s-a-hoaxers have railed about for six months now. Why should we close everything down and why should they have to wear a mask when we are just talking about a virus no different than the flu, or even the common flu, when most people are going to recover?!
But here’s what they are not considering: What does COVID-19 recovery actually look like? Well, an article by Elizabeth Cooney posted yesterday at StatNews.com has some answers for that question.
(Before we go any further: Yes, I checked out this website, StatNews.com. It is a site for news focused on issues of health, medicine, life sciences and the business of making medicines. It is rated high for factual reporting and very low for bias, and is said to use “the most credible sources,” according to MediaBiasFactCheck.com.)
Yesterday’s article, “Covid-19 infections leave an impact on the heart, raising concerns about lasting damage,” takes a look at two new studies out of Germany that indicate COVID-19 takes a a heavy toll on the heart “raising the specter of long-term damage after people recover, even if their illness was not severe enough to require hospitalization.”
One study indicates that 78 percent of “recovered” patients “had evidence of ongoing heart involvement,” which means that “the heart is involved in a majority of patients, even if COVID-19 does not scream out with the classical heart symptoms, such as anginal chest pain,” according to cardiologist Valentina Puntmann, who led the study.
The other study analyzed autopsy reports from 39 people who died early in the pandemic. It found high levels of the virus in the hearts of 24 of those patients.
Cooney’s article suggests, “Taken together, the two studies, published Monday in JAMA Cardiology, suggest that in many patients, Covid-19 could presage heart failure, a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body declines. It is too soon to say if the damage in patients recovering from Covid-19 is transient or permanent, but cardiologists are worried.”
Clyde Yancy, a cardiologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and Gregg Fonarow, a cardiologist at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine, co-wrote an editorial for JAMA Cardiology calling for more research, saying, “If this high rate of risk is confirmed, … then the crisis of COVID-19 will not abate but will instead shift to a new de novo incidence of heart failure and other chronic cardiovascular complications. We are inclined to raise a new and very evident concern that cardiomyopathy and heart failure related to Covid-19 may potentially evolve as the natural history of this infection becomes clearer.”
And long-term heart damage isn’t the only thing COVID patients have to worry about. There have also been indications they could be facing increased risk of blood clotting, stroke and embolisms, lasting lung damage and neurological symptoms, as well.
So in essence, those who insist on focusing on the high rate of recovery and poo-pooing what they see as an acceptable fatality need to stop and think again. Because “recovery” means more than just “not dying.”
— Tammye Nash