Case Study: Covid-19 Symptoms Gone After 3 Days on Herbs

On 12 July 2021, I received this email.

Good morning Dr. Chris. 

My name is Tom (not real name).  I was introduced by my wife’s auntie who, about 10 years ago, had cancer and went to Dr. Chris for treatment. The result is very good until today. 

Last month on 6 June 2021 I went to the hospital with problem of constipation for about 2 weeks. I was diagnosed with colon cancer. On 7 June 2021 I had surgery. Almost half of my colon was removed. The histopathology report indicated it was T4a N0 MX.

After surgery, the doctors suggested chemotherapy. After I got information from my wife’s auntie, I searched  information through the website, and read the book Cancer War by Dr. Chris. I decided to choose traditional herbal therapy instead of chemotherapy. 

I am committed to work hard to heal myself. Since I was discharged from hospital until today I really take care my food without meat, chicken, sugar, milk, any food with preservative and only put a little Himalayan salt in my food. I also took some herbs besides the doctor’s medication.

17 July 2021

Dear Dr Chris, 

These two days I didn’t feel so well. I had fever and cold.  But I don’t know why I keep burping. It is very inconvenient because burping makes my surgical site a little painful. And my waist also feel pain – may be because of the wind inside my body. Can Dr Chris please advise how I can stop the burping, what should I eat or what medicine should I take. 

One evening, I talked to Tom and his wife via video chat. I suspected Tom might be infected with covid-19. I  asked him to see his surgeon in the hospital and request for covid test. Tom did what I suggested.

23 July 2021

 Dear Dr. Chris, 

Two days ago I went to hospital and had a blood test.  My white blood cell was very low. A PCR test was positive for Covid-19. 

On 27 July 2021,  I talked to Tom and his wife again via video chat. We decided that Tom should not take his herbs for cancer yet. We should instead concentrate on his covid problem.

During our video conversation, I could see that Tom’s health was not good. He looked tired, his facial expression was dull and he coughed often. When he walked to the bathroom I could see that his movement was slow.

I immediately sent Tom a herbal prescription to bring it to a Chinese Traditional Medicine shop and buy the herbs. This saves time rather than waiting for me to send the herbs to him. I believe if we dilly-dally his condition would become more serious.

28 July 2021.

 Chris: Did you manage to buy the herbs using the formula?

Tom: Yes Dr. Chris. This evening already boil and drink it.

C: Good. Please take note how you feel after taking the tea.

T: I drink it, I feel my cough becomes less. My friend helped me to buy the herbs. I bought 10 packets costing RM180.00. Tonight I shall boil the second round. Hopefully my cough can disappear!

29 July 2021

C:  Hello Tom. Today – already taken 2 packets of tea — 4 glasses. How do you feel today. Are you better or not?

C: Thank you. Why you say better?

C: You cough gone just after 2 days or 1 day of herbs?

T: Two days.

30 July 2021

I was on video chat with Tom and his wife again. This evening it seemed that I was talking to a different person,  not the one I talked to 3 days ago! Tom’s face looked radiant. This face showed that he was healthy. It was indeed a fantastic experience for me to see such an instant change of his health.

Tonight, I had the opportunity to ask Tom more questions. Three days ago, I was not able to ask Tom many things seeing that he had difficulty talking and needed much efforts to answer questions.

Tom and his wife had to wear pink wrist band – that means home quarantine and not allowed out of the house.

Did the doctor prescribe any medication while on home quarantine?

No – nothing. Tom’s wife said she had some Panadol and other medications which she had in the house. She gave these to Tom.

Do you monitor your oxygen saturation level?

 Yes and it was 98 + . No change before and after taking the herbs.

What symptoms did you have before taking the herbs?

  • Fever for 2 to 3 days.
  •  Cough – dry and sometimes with white phlegm.
  • Feeling very weak for 3 to 4 days.
  • Throat – sometime itchy. This happened when talking too much.
  • Breathless if talk too much.
  • Diarrhoea for 2 to 3 days. Three to 4 times a day.
  • Backache and feel dizzy.
  • Headache  due to aching muscle at the back of the head and neck.
  • Burping – often, for 2 to 3 days.

After taking the herbal tea for 2 days:

  • The cough was gone.
  • Headache only  in the morning. At night okay.
  • No more dizziness when headache.

According to Tom, on a scale of 0 to 10, his health was at 5 after being diagnosed with covid.  After three days of herbs, his health score had increased to 8.

1 August 2021

3 August 2021

I had a video conversation with Tom and his wife – this was to check if everything was okay. Their radiant faces showed it all. They were so grateful for being well again. Both Tom and his wife did not have anymore covid symptoms!

Lessons We Can Learn from this Case Study.

1. This is my third case in trying to help covid-19 patients. I did not know what to expect.  It is indeed wonderful to be able to share this experience with you. Thank God for His blessing!

But let me be frank. If you have Covid-19, please go to the hospital. Follow the SOP that the government in your country has put in place.

But if after consulting the doctors and you are just sent home and quarantined without any medication or help, then I am willing to help you if you need our help. Just take herbs like the Chinese in Wuhan, China, did when Covid-19 broke out there. It is better than doing nothing.

But please don’t blame me if you don’t get well. Keep monitoring your oxygen saturation level a few times a day. If the oxygen level (as measured by the oximeter) is below 90, please call for medical help imediately. You need oxygen therapy.

2. Taking herbs is only for those who believe in herbal therapy. If you don’t believe that herbs can do any good or it is not scientifically proven, then  please don’t ask me to help. 

3. I have been helping cancer patients for over 25 years now. You need to take the herbs for at least 2 to 4 weeks to feel the benefit of the cancer herbs. But for covid, you can feel the benefit of the herbs within 2 to 3 days! Amazing. Tom was on the herbs for 3 days and his cough was gone and he felt less tired. After 3 days, his health was at a scale of 8. While he was struggling with covid before that his health was at a scale of 5. When talking to him, I could see in his facial expression, that his health was restored. After 6 days on the herbs, I asked Tom to stop taking the herbs – after all he was already okay.

Tom paid RM18 for a packet of herbs. So in total he spent RM108 to get well! Is that cheap or expensive? In addition, Tom brought in a bit of business to the struggling, lockdown-affected Chinese herbal shop in his hometown.

Let me end with this statement: For those who believe in herbs, let them believe. For those who don’t believe, it is okay.

Long Covid – Let’s Learn and Be Prepared

After a Covid patient is discharged from the hospital, does it mean he/she is done with the virus? Unfortunately the  answer may be not yet. He/she is not done with Covid-19 yet. It is now known that the symptoms of post-Covid linger around for some more weeks or months after the infection is no longer detectable. Such people are said to suffer from post-Covid syndromes – often referred to “Long Covid”.

The website of The Office for National Statistics, UK  said:

The website of the World Economic Forum said:

  • For millions of people around the world, the health impact of catching coronavirus extends well beyond the initial infection period.
  • A recent study led by Imperial College London suggests that 2 million people in England alone may have had long Covid, that’s about 3.5% of the population.

How does long Covid affect people’s lives?

  • Many are unable to return to work or have a social life.
  • Because long Covid affects people’s ability to work, it has “important economic consequences” for them, their families and for society.
  • Many have described how it affected their mental health.                                              https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/07/long-covid-symptoms-research/

Chaoling Huang et al. of the Jin Yin-ta Hospital, Wuhan, China studied patients after they were discharged from the hospital. These patients suffered from the follow problems:

  1. 63% – fatigue or muscle weakness.
  2. 26% – sleep difficulties.
  3. 23%  – anxiety or depression.
  4. 22% –  hair loss.
  • At 6 months after acute infection, Covid-19 survivors were mainly troubled by at least one symptom such as fatigue or muscle weakness, sleep difficulties, and anxiety or depression.
  • More severely ill patients had increased risk of pulmonary diffusion abnormality, fatigue or muscle weakness, and anxiety or depression. 
  • Long-term extrapulmonary organ manifestations – for example, persistent renal dysfunctions were observed, some participants were newly diagnosed with diabetes, and venous thromboembolic diseases, (including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events).      
  • The long-term health consequences of Covid-19 remain largely unclear.                         https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)32656-8/fulltext#%20

Bjorn Blomberg of the Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Norway carried out a long-term study of  home-isolated and  hospitalized patients after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

At 6 months, 61%  of all patients had persistent symptoms such as:

  • fatigue (37%)
  • difficulty concentrating (26%)
  • disturbed smell and/or taste (25%)
  • memory problems (24%)
  • dyspnea –  shortness of breath / breathlessness (21%)

Among the 247 home-isolated patients, 55% (136/247) experienced persistent symptoms at 6 months, most commonly

The website of University College London said:

The following are some symptoms of Long Covid:

  • Anxiety – feeling uneasy, nervous
  • Appetite loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes to the menstrual cycle
  • Chest pain or tightness in the chest
  • Cough – persistent
  • Depression – sadness and loss of interest
  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficult to concentrate or think clearly
  • Difficult to control bladder
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Dizziness when standing
  • Ear ringing or ear ache
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Feeling sick
  • Fever, temperature comes and goes
  • Hair loss
  • Hallucination – seeing or hearing things that are not there. Only in the mind.
  • Headache
  • Heart beat – fast or pounding
  • Itchy skin or rashes
  • Memory loss or memory problem
  • Mood changes
  • Muscle aches / pain
  • Numbness
  • Pain in the joints
  • Pins and needles – hands or feet or body
  • Sense of smell or taste – change or loss
  • Severe kidney injury
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Shingles
  • Sleep problems
  • Sore throat
  • Stomach aches
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Tremor – shaking movement of body

Problems To Come

An article in the Mayo Clinic website, Covid-19 symptoms can sometimes persist for months. The virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain, which increases the risk of long-term health problems said.

  • Older people and people with many serious medical conditions are the most likely to experience lingering Covid-19 symptoms, but even young, otherwise healthy people can feel unwell for weeks to months after infection.

Organ damage.

Although Covid-19  is seen as a disease that primarily affects the lungs, it can damage many other organs such as:

  • Heart. Imaging tests taken months after recovery from Covid-19  have shown lasting damage to the heart muscle, even in people who experienced only mild Covid-19 symptoms. This may increase the risk of heart failure or other heart complications in the future.
  • Lungs. The type of pneumonia often associated with Covid-19  can cause long-standing damage to the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. The resulting scar tissue can lead to long-term breathing problems.
  • Brain. Even in young people, Covid-19  can cause strokes, seizures and Guillain-Barre syndrome — a condition that causes temporary paralysis. Covid-19  may also increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Blood clots and blood vessel problems.

Covid-19 can make blood cells more likely to clump up and form clots. While large clots can cause heart attacks and strokes, much of the heart damage caused by Covid-19 is believed to stem from very small clots that block tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the heart muscle.

Other parts of the body affected by blood clots include the lungs, legs, liver and kidneys. 

Covid-19 can also weaken blood vessels and cause them to leak, which contributes to potentially long-lasting problems with the liver and kidneys.

Problems with mood and fatigue.

People who have severe symptoms of Covid-19 often have to be treated in a hospital’s intensive care unit, with mechanical assistance such as ventilators to breathe. Simply surviving this experience can make a person more likely to later develop post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and anxiety.

Much is still unknown about how Covid-19 will affect people over time.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351

A news article, WHO warns of ‘long term’ Covid -19 impact on mental health reported:

  • The mental health impact of the pandemic will be “long-term and far-reaching”, the World Health Organization said Thursday (Jul 22). Everyone is affected in one way or another.
  • Anxieties around virus transmission, the psychological impact of lockdowns and self-isolation had contributed to a mental health crisis, along with stresses linked to unemployment, financial worries and social alienation.
  • The pandemic has shaken the world. More than four million lives lost globally, livelihoods ruined, families and communities forced apart, businesses bankrupted, and people deprived of opportunities.
  • The WHO called for the strengthening of mental health services in general – it also urged better psychological support services in schools, universities, workplaces and for people on the front line of the fight against Covid -19.                                                                                https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/covid-19-impact-on-mental-health-who-15271306

Let me close by referring you to the website of the American Psychological Association.

  • The stress brought on by the Covid -19 pandemic has taken a toll on almost everyone.
  • About 10% of patients develop long Covid (JAMA, Vol. 225, No. 19, 2021; The BMJ, Vol. 370, No. 8258, 2020).
  • With 32 million cases and counting of Covid -19 in the United States alone, that means 3.2 million Americans may be facing long-term illnesses that could reshape their relationships, jobs, and futures and take a significant toll on their mental health.
  • A May 2021 study found that a third of Covid -19 patients had been diagnosed with neurological or psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and psychosis, in the 6 months after they contracted Covid -19 (The Lancet Psychiatry, Vol. 8, No. 5, 2021).
  • “If we only focus on recovery from the virus, and not recovery from a holistic, whole-person perspective, people’s recovery is going to be incomplete,” said Megan Hosey, an assistant professor of rehabilitation psychology and neuropsychology in the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
  • In Hopkins’s intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital, she sees patients who are experiencing long Covid symptoms—like brain fog, fatigue, breathlessness, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression — they frequently need help with feelings of isolation, worries over lost jobs and income, and adjusting to their new lives. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/07/treating-long-covid

Can Herbs Help Treat Covid Problems?

At the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic, China was at the forefront in combating Covid-19 virus using herbs, besides relying on modern medicine. They claimed that herbs can help Covid patients.

In their paper Combating COVID-19 with integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine in China Liqiang Ni and co-workers of the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai,China said:

China has achieved rapid containment of Covid-19 following the principles of

  • early detection,
  • early quarantine and
  • early treatment with integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine.

The traditional Chinese medicine played an indispensable role in the treatment of Covid-19 in combination with Western medicine. Their study showed that Chinese medicine can reduce the incidence of severe or critical events, improve clinical recovery and help alleviate symptoms such as cough or fever.

(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211383520306183)

Zhenyu Zhao and co-researchers at the National Resource Center for Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China in a review paper Prevention and treatment of COVID-19 using Traditional Chinese Medicine wrote:

The main clinical symptoms of COVID-19 patients are:

  1. Fever (88.5%)
  2. Cough (68.6%)
  3. Fatigue (35.8%)
  4. Expectoration (28.2%)
  5. Dyspnea (21.9%)

The minor symptoms include:

  1. Headache or dizziness (12.1%)
  2. Diarrhea (4.8%)
  3. Nausea and vomiting (3.9%)
  4. TCM has achieved good results in the treatment of Covid-19.
  5. In Hunan province, by the end of February 25, 2020, a total of 1016 patients were diagnosed.
  6.  981 of these patients were treated with TCM as part of their treatment, accounting for 96.56%.
  7. 779 patients (95.76%) were discharged.
  8. 233 patients were hospitalized – all of them were treated with TCM..
  9. At present, more than 200 countries in the world have experienced Covid-19 outbreaks. In the absence of specific drugs in the world, China’s experience in the application of TCM can be used as a valuable reference.
  10. Another advantage of TCM to treat Covid-19 is that the rate of relapse of Covid-19 is lower than that when Western medicine is used. The total rate of relapse of Covid-19 is approximately 0.1% of 8000 cases.

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7439087/)

Zi Zhou Zheng et al. of Jiangxia District TCM Hospital, Wuhan, China presented two case studies on the Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Medicine on COVID-19 (https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acu.2020.1432)

In December 2019, a novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia (NCIP) was identified in the central city of Wuhan. This disease is later named Covid-19. It is highly infectious – having strong person-to-person transmission, causing extremely high incidence of NCIP throughout Wuhan. It spread swiftly to 34 provinces within China and more than100 other countries around the world between January and March 2020.

  • Up to August 11, 2020, there have been 89,383 cases diagnosed as coronavirus-infected pneumonia; and 4,696 deaths in China (mortality rate of 5.25%). The common influenza has a mortality rate of 0.2%.
  • Worldwide reports have confirmed 19,936,210 cases and 732,499 deaths. These figures have been increasing daily.
  • There is no effective method to treat this virus by conventional modern medicine.
  • The treatment of viral conditions is well established within the context of Chinese Medicine.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) demonstrates a positive effect in the treatment for Covid-19. It is highly recommended that TCM be incorporated early on in the treatment schedule for Covid-19.

Case 1: Female, 38 years old, resident of Wuhan, presented with fever, rigors, dry cough and dry mouth without sputum, dizziness, aching limbs, depressive mood, and anorexia (eating disorder). She had been self-medicating (drug unknown) for 3 days before presentation but had felt no improvement.

Chest computed tomography (CT) scan showed multiple ground glass appearance in both lungs. She was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to hospital. During her stay on a general medical ward, she was prescribed the antibiotic ceftazidime and a patent Chinese herb infusion (Xiyan Ping) for 4 days but showed no significant improvement.

The patient was then transferred to our department with a fever of 39.2°C, slight aversion to cold, bitter taste and dry mouth, dry cough without sputum, dizziness, aching limbs, and anorexia. She had a red tongue with a thin-yellow–greasy coating.

After admission, in addition to ceftazidime and Xiyan Ping, she was given an herbal formula targeted to her aforementioned symptoms. The herbal mixture was decocted and taken orally twice daily.

Results.

  • After 1 dose of the herbs the patient’s sweating and temperature decreased; she reported resolution of most of her symptoms after 3 doses.
  • The TCM prescription was not altered any further as the patient improved. After completing her course, 7 days of herbs, repeat RT-PCR testing was negative for COVID-19.
  • A third CT scan showed almost complete disappearance of the ground glass appearance. On discharge the patient had complete resolution of symptoms.

Case 2: Male, 60 years old, resident of Wuhan, presented to the district hospital with fever and rigors, dry cough, aching muscles, breathlessness, fatigue, bloating, and anorexia since 17 January 2020. His CT scan showed an infective appearance in both lungs, and a diagnosis of viral pneumonia was suspected. He received unknown outpatient treatment.

The patient did not improve after initial treatment. He was admitted on 24 January  2020 to a general ward and prescribed ceftazidime, moxifloxacin, oseltamivir, anti-influenza patent herbs (Lianhua Qingwen capsules and Xiyanping infusion), and Ibuprofen as a baseline treatment. Owing to ongoing fever more than 40°C and positive RT-PCR testing, he was admitted to the special COVID-19 ward.

On admission to our unit, he appeared in poor spirits with intermittent fevers in the afternoons reaching 40°C with headache, general muscular aching, dry cough, breathlessness and fatigue, activity-induced wheezing, bloating, and anorexia. His tongue was red with a yellow-thick-greasy coating.

He was prescribed herbal mixture, decocted and taken orally twice daily for 5 days.

Result.

  • The patient’s fever and sweats decreased after 1 dose of the aforementioned herbs. All symptoms reduced after 3 doses.
  • After 5 days, the patient reported feeling less breathless and bloated with increased appetite, but still complained of general muscular aching. The herbal prescription was modified on 28 January 2020.
  • The herbal mixture was prescribed for 7 doses. The patient reported feeling noticeably less muscular aching after 1 dose of the new prescription.
  • On 8 February 2020 his PCR was negative.
  • The patient was discharged with complete clinical and laboratory resolution and almost complete radiological resolution on 10 February 10, 2020.

My Comments.

The question to ask is: Why don’t we try to use herbs to help Covid patients? That is a billion dollar question which cannot be easily answered. It will involve too much politics and stepping on the toes of too many Vested Interests. Please remember that our whole world is divided in two halves – White vs Yellow or West vs East.

Bogged Down In Old Stale Arguments – TCM not scientifically proven!

After presenting you with some good encouraging review above, we do have nasty comments from some writers who spin the same old tale again and again.

David Cyranoski wrote this comment in Nature (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01284-x)

  • China is promoting coronavirus treatments based on unproven traditional medicines.
  • But scientists outside China say it is dangerous to support therapies that have yet to be proved safe and effective.
  • There are no rigorous trial data to demonstrate that the remedies work.
  • Government officials and TCM practitioners deem the remedies safe because some have been used for thousands of years.  
  • China’s recommendations on Covid-19 treatments, particularly TCM remedies, were not science-based. 

There is another one written by Paul Stapleton, a writer who also owns Academic ProofreadingPlus (https://hongkongfp.com/2021/02/01/traditional-chinese-medicine-as-a-covid-cure-do-we-believe-in-magic/)

Traditional Chinese Medicine as a Covid cure: do we believe in magic?

  • Certainly, TCM is well-established here in Hong Kong and on the mainland with plenty of shops selling TCM remedies, testifying to the strong local belief in its efficacy.
  • However, some caution is in order regarding that word “belief” because belief is closely connected to narratives rather than scientific data.
  • If TCM really were effective, it would have long ago spread beyond China’s borders and be used worldwide.
  • The TCM medicine used may in fact provide some marginal benefits, albeit mostly psychological …  the narrative surrounding … magical thinking.

James Flowers from the Kyung Hee University in Seoul offered his explanation:

  • In response to Paul Stapleton’s op-ed expressing concern about Beijing’s claim that Chinese medicine cures Covid-19, I argue that we should not to be so quick to dismiss a healing therapy because it falls outside familiar frames of reference.
  • In fact, Beijing has not claimed Chinese medicine as a cure for Covid-19. Rather, the claim is that it can relieve symptoms and aid in recovery. Furthermore, PRC doctors mostly advocate an integrated approach combining Western medicine and Chinese medicine.
  • Considering Chinese medicine’s popularity in China and Hong Kong, it seems rather hasty to dismiss it as simply a placebo.
  • Ideally, medicine should not become political. As we know, politics has hampered efforts to deal with Covid-19 in numerous countries, most notably the United States.
  • Doctors of whatever type of medicine, Western or Chinese, aim to save lives after years and sometimes decades of training. Shouldn’t we be grateful to all who go through so much to alleviate human suffering?
  • I suggest that we look beyond China and Hong Kong to better understand Chinese medicine’s international reception. In the East Asian region, closely related to Chinese medicine, Korean medicine continues to enjoy both popularity and prestige in South Korea. Chinese medicine does not have to be foreign. Just as Western scientific medicine belongs to us all, so do Chinese and Korean medicine. Medicine does not belong to nations but to the global community.

(https://hongkongfp.com/2021/02/07/dont-be-too-quick-to-dismiss-chinese-medicine-in-fight-against-covid-19/)

Let me give you some hard facts to consider. See who is just spewing out fake ideas to justify their arguments.

Just google this: Death by medical error in US. This is what you get.

  • Recent studies of medical errors have estimated errors may account for as many as 251,000 deaths annually in the United States (U.S)., making medical errors the third leading cause of death. Error rates are significantly higher in the U.S. than in other developed countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom (U.K).  (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28186008/)

This is the message to the world: In spite of it being a scientifically proven or science based, modern medicine still kills a lot of patients due to human errors!

Visit this website,  (https://etactics.com/blog/medical-error-statistics). It says:

  • Medical errors – these are preventable adverse effects resulting from medical care rather than the patient’s condition. We’d like to think they don’t happen.
  • These issues aren’t new; the first major report on medical errors in the US is from over two decades ago. In 1999, To Err is Human from the Institution of Medicine estimated 98,000 deaths due to error. At the time, this would be the sixth leading cause of death in the country. 
  • A study in 2010 found that this number had almost doubled to 180,000 deaths. And by 2013, the estimate ranged from 210,000 to 440,000 deaths per year. This landed medical errors as the third leading cause of death trailing heart disease and cancer.

To understand the core of the problem, here is another article, Death by prescription (https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-09-27/the-danger-in-taking-prescribed-medications)

  • About 2,460 people per week are estimated to die from drugs that were properly prescribed, and that’s based on detailed chart reviews of hospitalized patients, says Light, who is a professor of comparative health policy at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey. The estimate, which didn’t include those who died as a result of prescribing errors, overdose and self-medication, would make taking properly prescribed drugs the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.

Proven medicines that kill!

Here are more examples for you to reflect on:

Timeline: The Rise and Fall of Vioxx (https://www.npr.org/2007/11/10/5470430/timeline-the-rise-and-fall-of-vioxx)

  • FDA approved Vioxx in 1999 as a painkiller. It was being extensively used and prescribed to patients who needed it. Vioxx was later showed to be deadly, causing heart attacks and strokes.
  • November 2007: Merck announces it will pay $4.85 billion to end thousands of lawsuits over its painkiller Vioxx. The amount … is believed to be the largest drug settlement ever.

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug poisoning deaths. (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6450a3.htm)

  • From 2000 to 2014 nearly half a million persons in the United States have died from drug overdoses.
  • Opioids, primarily prescription pain relievers and heroin, are the main drugs associated with overdose deaths.

You want a description of hell?’ Oxycontin’s 12-hour problem.

(https://www.latimes.com/projects/oxycontin-part1/).

  • Purdue developed OxyContin as a cure for pain.
  • To obtain FDA approval, Purdue had to demonstrate that OxyContin was safe and was as effective as other pain drugs on the market.
  • The FDA approved the application in 1995.
  • Many doctors began prescribing OxyContin. Doctors wrote 5.4 million prescriptions for the painkiller in 2014. OxyContin became America’s bestselling painkiller, and Purdue reaped $31 billion in revenue.
  • Rates of addiction and overdose soared alongside the rise in prescriptions.
  • The U.S. Justice Dept. launched a criminal investigation, and in 2007 the company and three top executives pleaded guilty to fraud for downplaying OxyContin’s risk of addiction. Purdue and the executives were ordered to pay $635 million. 
  • The drug is widely blamed for setting off the nation’s prescription opioid epidemic, which has claimed more than 190,000 lives from overdoses involving OxyContin and other painkillers since 1999.

Let me close this discussion about “unproven magic potion” by referring you to a book Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime – How big pharma has corrupted heathcare written by Professor Peter C Gøtzsche. The author is a specialist in internal medicine who had worked with clinical trials and regulatory affairs in the drug industry from 1975 – 1983, and at hospitals in Copenhagen from 1984 to 1995. He co-founded The Cochrane Collaboration in 1993 and established The Nordic Cochrane Centre. He became professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis in 2010 at the University of Copenhagen.

Foreword No:1 of the book was written by Dr. Richard Smith, former Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious British Medical Journal. Let me quote what Dr. Smith wrote:

  • I have long recognised that science is carried out by human beings not objective robots and will therefore be prone to the many human failings, but I was shocked by the stories in Peter’s book.
  • Science can be corrupted in order to advance particular argument and how money, profits, jobs and reputation are the most potent corrupters.
  • Peter (author of the book) is not the first to compare the industry with the Mafia or mob. He quotes a former vice-president of Pfizer who has said: It is scary how many similarities there are between this industry and the mob. The mob makes obscene amounts of money, as does this industry. The side effects of organized crime are killings and death and the side effects are same in this industry. The mob bribes politicians and others, and so does the drug industry. 
  • Many people are killed by the industry … indeed hundreds of thousands are killed every year by prescription drugs.
  • The benefits of drugs are exaggerated … the drug industry has systematically corrupted science to play up the benefits and play down the harms of their drugs.
  • The industry has bought doctors, academics, journals, professional and patient organisations, university departments, journalists, regulators and politicians. These are the methods of the mob. Doctors are beholden to the drug industry and that many are being paid six figure sums for advising companies or giving talks on their behalf.
  • The main reason we take many drugs is that drug companies don’t sell drugs, they sell lies about drugs.
  • Virtually everything we know about drugs is what the companies have chosen to tell us and our doctors …The patients don’t realize that, although the doctors may know a lot about disease and human physiology and psychology, they know very, very little about drugs that have been carefully concocted and dressed up by the drug industry.

Back to Sanity – Curing the Madness of the Biased Mind.

As I have often said, health is our own responsibility. So it is up to chose what path you wish to take. You decide whether we want to stay healthy or remain sick. Don’t depend too much on others – believing that they will do their best to help us. This is the rule of survival. I have come to learn this after dealing with many cancer patients over the years.

From what I can see, Covid-infected people need help on two separate levels.

1. They need an effective treatment after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

While in the hospitals they need to undergo the necessary medical treatments. Do that! But we also learn that taking TCM herbs have been shown to be helpful. Unfortunately, taking herbs while in the hospital is out of the question although this can be done in a hospital setting in China. So my advice to patients is follow the rules of your country. Go to hospital first and seek the help of the medical doctors.

2. Helping the Long Covid patients.

For those who survive the disease and are being discharged from the hospital – these are the Long Covid patients –  perhaps herbs can help them if modern medicine cannot help.

Herbs are not safe? Dangerous? TCM is only based on magical thinking? Come on – grow up! Educate yourself a bit more. The older generation would say this – You have not eaten enough salt to come to such a conclusion!

Long Covid patients need help. Is anyone able to offer anything to help them? Give me a bit of time and I shall be able to answer that question.

Let me end by quoting what Dr. Jimmie Holland wrote in The Human Side of Cancer:

  • People have their strongly held beliefs about the use of alternative and complementary therapies.
  • Disbelievers remain disbelievers and believers continue to believe.
  • I have learned from experience that trying to influence strongly held beliefs is exhausting … You believe or you don’t.

Part 1: The Long March Against Covid-19

When Malaysia declared its first MCO (movement control) early last year, it never occurred to me that this Covid problem would drag on for so long. My impression then was that within a few months everything would be over and we would be back to normal again. Unfortunately, it did not turn out that way.  It has been more than a year and the Covid problem remains unsolved, causing a lot of misery to many people.

I did not pay much attention to this epidemic and took life easy. We closed our centre and I stopped seeing patients. Up to this day our centre still remains closed. With the free time on hand I started to channel my energy to writing books – documenting our 25-years of experience helping cancer patients. The project kept me fully occupied. The results? In 2020, I wrote 4 books and had all of them translated into Bahasa Indonesia as well. But the Covid problem remained. After a short break, in early 2021, I started writing again and completed another 5 books! Now I have started writing last book of the series. When this is done there is no more writing for a long while.

But when is the Covid problem going to be over?  We can keep guessing but no one knows for sure. Before we discuss further, let’s learn a bit about this Covid – the virus that brought every country on its knee.

Coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2

The information below is obtained from websites of:

  1. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, USA. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/about-covid-19.html).
  2. World Health Organization (https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/transmission-of-sars-cov-2-implications-for-infection-prevention-precautions).
  3. Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symptoms_of_COVID-19)
  • COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Since it is a new virus, there are still many things that we don’t know about this virus.
  • COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more problems.
  • We need to undergo testing to confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • Like cancer cells, this virus population is not dumb. As they multiply and spread, this virus constantly mutate and change to be become a vigorous and deadly variant.

Currently there are a few variants of this virus:

Alpha: This variant was initially detected in the United Kingdom.

Beta: This variant was initially detected in South Africa in December 2020.

Gamma: This variant was initially identified in travelers from Brazil, who were tested during routine screening at an airport in Japan in early January 2021.

Epsilon: There are two variants. They were first identified in California in February 2021.

Delta: This variant was initially identified in India in December 2020. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases the Delta variant is the “greatest threat” in the world’s efforts to contain COVID-19.

Other emerging variants:

  • Zeta – earliest document in Brazil, April 2020.
  • Eta – multiple countries, Dec. 2020.
  • Theta – Philippines, Jan. 2021.
  • Iota, USA Nov. 2020.
  • Kappa – India, Oct. 2020.
  • Lambda – Peru, Dec. 2020.

How the virus spread.

Covid-19 can spread by the following ways:

  • Contact with droplets.
  • Airborne transmission.
  • Touching of contaminated surface.
  • Animal-to-human transmission.

In doing our daily activities we need to take care of our health and avoid being infected by the virus. Understand that Covid multiplies in the respiratory tract of the infected person. The saliva and respiratory secretions  are expelled  as droplets and particles of varying sizes when breathing, talking, singing, coughing, sneezing, etc.These expulsions contain the virus. So keep away from these droplets.

  • Respiratory droplet transmission can occur when a person is in close contact (within 2 metre / 6 feet)) with an infected person.
  • These droplets and particles expelled by the infected person can be breathed in or picked up by other healthy people nearby.
  • Respiratory droplets from infected individuals can also land on objects, thus contaminating the surfaces. Healthy people can be infected by touching these surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth before cleaning their hands.
  • COVID-19 primarily spread  from people who have symptoms. However, they can also spread the virus just before they develop symptoms, when they are in close proximity to others for prolonged periods of time.
  • Infected people who never develop symptoms (referred to as asymptomatic) can also pass the virus to others. It is still not clear to what extent this occurs and more research is needed in this area.
  • Covid-19 is also said to be airborne. The virus can spread from infected people over long distances by inhaling very fine respiratory droplets (aerosols) carried by the air. These aerosols are invisible to the naked eye and they can be carried farther and stay aloft longer, depending on humidity, temperature and airflow.
  • Infectious aerosols remain concentrated in the air longer in poorly ventilated, confined indoor spaces.
  • Indoor crowded spaces can potentially expose healthy people to an airborne infection. Avoid staying in inadequately ventilated spaces over a prolonged period of time with infected persons.
  • Indoor areas that aren’t crowded can also be hazardous e.g. in restaurant, singing / fitness class, etc.
  • Covid can spread also from people to animals in some situations. Pet cats and dogs can sometimes become infected after close contact with people with Covid-19.

Reinfection.

Reinfection means a person was infected (got sick) once, recovered, and then later became infected again Cases of reinfection with Covid have been reported, but remain rare​.​

Protect Yourself and Others.

Anyone infected with Covid can spread the virus even if he/she does NOT have symptoms.

To prevent transmission, CDC and WHO recommends the following measures:

Symptoms.

COVID-19 affect  different people in different ways. The virus cause respiratory illness ranging from mild disease to severe disease and death. Some virus-infected people never develop symptoms. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.

  • Most common symptoms are:
  • fever,
  • dry cough and
  • tiredness.
  • Less common symptoms are:
  • aches and pains,
  • sore throat,
  • diarrhoea,
  • conjunctivitis,
  • headache,
  • loss of taste or smell and
  • a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
  • Serious symptoms are:
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath,
  •  chest pain or pressure,
  •  loss of speech or movement.

Patients with the following symptoms need urgent / immediate medical care:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Of people who show symptoms,

  • 81% develop only mild to moderate symptoms (up to mild pneumonia),
  • 14% develop severe symptoms (dyspnea, hypoxia, or more than 50% lung involvement on imaging).
  • 5% of patients suffer critical symptoms (respiratory failure, shock, or multiorgan dysfunction).
  • At least a third of the people who are infected with the virus do not develop noticeable symptoms at any point in time. These asymptomatic carriers tend not to get tested and can spread the disease.
  • Other infected people will develop symptoms later, called “pre-symptomatic”, or have very mild symptoms and can also spread the virus.

Most symptomatic people experience symptoms within 2 to 7 days after exposure, and almost all will experience at least one symptom within 12 days.

It takes about 5 to 6 days (even up to 2 weeks in some cases) from infection with the virus to the manifestation of the symptoms.

Each country differ in the way it handles this epidemic. Generally once you are tested positive you have to be isolated and quarantined. Please follow the S.O.P. established by your health authorities.

What Happened After Being Struck by Covid-19

It never occurred to me that I needed to be bothered about Covid – after all I already have my hands full with cancer.  But reading the news everyday make one “sick” of the situation. People are losing their loved ones, losing their jobs and are depleted of their financial resources. There is no food to feed the family, etc. etc. Sad indeed. But that is politics and I would not want to go into that.

 What got me to “wake up” from this “couldn’t-careless-about-Covid” attitude are two episodes that happened a few weeks ago.

I had a call from my cousin in Kelantan. He and his mother (my 90+ year old auntie) were down with Covid. They were hospitalized and managed to survive the ordeal. I was told many others like them could not make it and died. I did not have a chance to talk to my auntie but was told that she is now “okay” post-covid hospitalization.   It was her son – my cousin – who has problem. After being discharged from the hospital, he was told his kidney was damaged. His medical report indicated:

  • Worsening renal function. Creatinine = 379. GFR = 14. He will need dialysis in the very near future.

(Note: Normal creatinine range =  61.9 to 114.9.  A GFR of 60 and above is considered normal, a GFR less than 60 may indicate kidney disease. A level of 15 or less is defined medically as kidney failure).

My cousin asked if I could help him by prescribing some herbs. As for now he is not ready for further medical treatment. I put him on our teas to improve his kidney function. He was happy with the initial results.

At the same time, I received emails from a friend in Pontianak, Kalimantan, Indonesia. He wrote:

  • 7 June 2021: Dear Dr. Chris, 

How are you there? Thank God, we’re okay here, but people around us are not okay. Friends and relatives, got COVID one by one. Sadly some of them couldn’t survive.

  • 17 June 2021:

Just for your information, I am infected by corona viruses. Today is my 4th day of having this illness. My condition looks stable, got fever (around 37.5 – 38.0), cold, cough, tiredness. I’m also losing my sense of smell. Hope things could be better tomorrow. 

  • 18 June 2021:

Really need to be careful, never ever release your mask wherever you are. My son released his mask when he went out for lunch and get infected although the restaurant was not crowded, almost empty. He then infected me. I’d received 2 doses of SINOVAC vaccine two months ago but still got infected. My condition today looks worse than yesterday. I pray that God take care of you and your family there. 

  • 21 June 2021:

I was admitted to hospital since a couple of days ago. I was very weak and not able even to talk. My oxygen saturation dropped to 91, so my friends urged me to go to the hospital. But thank God, my condition now is much better. Can talk and saturation already in normal range. I pray that you and Mdm. I am always in our God’s protection. 

  • 26 June 2021:

Thank you for your prayer. I was discharged from hospital a couple of days ago but my condition is still weak. Can do nothing, keep feeling tired. But my condition is improving now, much better than when I was at hospital. Lost around 5 kg within 4 days while at the hospital. 

From these emails, I learned that our health is so fragile. From being a fully vaccinated, healthy person my Indonesian friend became a sick and vulnerable person within days. This is what Covid can do to a person which I am not aware of.  So I stopped my book-writing for a while and started to read what I can get from the internet about Covid-19. There is so much information out there, and I am now beginning to learn the problems in greater depth.

Each day, we hear from the TV informing us about the number of new Covid cases and the number of deaths in this place and that place. Unfortunately, they don’t go beyond just counting numbers. We need knowledge, not just numbers.

At least from my little experience above, I now know that:

  • Even after being vaccinated you are still not 100% safe! Beware and take care. Don’t try to be a hero and believe that you are immune to the virus.
  • After being discharged from the hospital, don’t think that you are 100% cured! My cousin and aunty were lucky that they came out of the hospital alive. That’s a real blessing indeed, but their problems may not be solved yet. My cousin and my friend in Indonesia suffer from post-Covid-19 syndrome – medically they  name this condition as Long Covid! (long haul patient … on a long march?).

That being the case, what do they do now? Where do these Long Covid people go for help?

  • More importantly, it appears to me that this Covid problem is not going to go away anytime soon. It is also not going away easily. It is going to be a long march towards recovery. Or for some unfortunate people, they may not even recover. I have read that this epidemic will morph into endemic and we all have to learn to live with it for many more years to come.

Most people recover from the acute phase of the disease.

However, some people continue to experience a range of effects for months after recovery and damage to vital organs had been observed.

Long Covid Patients.

The Medical News Today has this very informative article What to know about long COVID. (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/long-covid).

  • People with mild cases of Covid usually recover within 1 to 2 weeks of contracting the virus. For severe cases the recovery can take 6 weeks or longer.
  • Long COVID refers to when people continue to experience symptoms of COVID-19 and do not fully recover for several weeks or months after the start of their symptoms.
  • Other terms for long COVID include post-COVID, post-acute COVID, long-tail COVID, and long-haul COVID. People with long COVID may refer to themselves as long haulers.

Prevalence of Long Covid.

  • Although it is still unclear how many people have experienced long Covid, data from the Covid Symptom Study suggested that 1 in 10 people with the illness experience symptoms for 3 weeks or longer. In UK the symptoms could last for a period of 12 weeks or longer.
  • This means that across the world, there may be more than 5 million cases of long COVID.
  • A study found that more than three-quarters of Covid patients in a hospital in Wuhan, China, still had at least one symptom, 6 months after their discharge from the hospital.
  • A study in Italy found that 87.4% of Covid patients reported experiencing at least one symptom 2 months after their discharge from the hospital.
  • A 2020 Swiss study also notes that as many as 1 in 3 people with milder cases Covid were still experiencing symptoms after 6 weeks.

Symptoms.

According to the US CDC:

  • Although most people with Covid-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-Covid conditions. Post-Covid conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes Covid-19.
  • Even people who did not have symptoms when they were infected can have post-Covid conditions. These conditions can have different types and combinations of health problems for different lengths of time.

CDC and experts around the world are working to learn more about short- and long-term health effects associated with Covid-19, who gets them, and why.

People with long Covid report experiencing different combinations of the following symptoms:

  1. Tiredness or fatigue
  2. Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
  3. Headache
  4. Loss of smell or taste
  5. Dizziness on standing
  6. Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
  7. Chest pain
  8. Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  9. Cough
  10. Joint or muscle pain
  11. Depression or anxiety
  12. Fever
  13. Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities

Multi-organ Effects of Covid-19.

Multi-organ effects can affect most, if not all, body systems including heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain functions.

Multi-organ effects can also include conditions like multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) and autoimmune conditions. MIS is a condition where different body parts can become swollen. Autoimmune conditions happen when your immune system attacks healthy cells in the body by mistake, causing painful swelling in the affected parts of the body.

It is unknown how long multi-organ system effects might last and whether the effects could lead to chronic health conditions.

People may also develop long-term complications that affect the organs. These complications are less common but may include:

  1. Inflammation of the heart muscle.
  2. Abnormal lung function.
  3. Severe kidney injury.
  4. A rash.
  5. Hair loss.
  6. Problems with smell and taste.
  7. Sleep issues.
  8. Memory and concentration difficulties.
  9. Anxiety.
  10. Mood changes.

Management.

Home remedies for managing long Covid may include the following:

  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, to relieve painful symptoms or fever.
  • Resting and relaxing.

Taking care of general health is also important. This may involve:

  • Following a healthy diet.
  • Getting quality sleep.
  • Limiting alcohol intake.
  • Limiting caffeine intake.
  • Not smoking.

When And How To Seek Help.

A person needs medical help if they experience any of the following:

  • Breathlessness that worsens.
  • Unexplained chest pain.
  • A new state of confusion.
  • Weakness.
  • Changes in vision, hearing, or speech.

Recovery.

It is currently unclear how long recovery from long Covid may take. Research reports that people may experience symptoms 2 to 3 months after the initial infection, and some people may experience symptoms for longer than this.

An article by Tharanya Arumugam, Malaysians cautioned on Long Covid or Post-Covid-19 Syndrome(https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2021/06/697991/malaysians-cautioned-long-covid-or-post-covid-19-syndrome) reported the following:

Among the five symptoms often experienced by former Covid-19 patients were fatigue, difficulty breathing when doing activities (exertional dyspnea), difficulty sleeping at night (insomnia), cough and anxiety.

  • The Health Ministry today cautioned Malaysians on the Long Covid or Post-Covid-19 Syndrome, advising that precautions should be taken after a person recovers from the coronavirus to lower the risk of serious health problems.

According to a clinical study conducted by the Health Ministry involving 1,004 patients from categories 4 and 5 who received follow-up treatment on the infection,

  • 66 per cent of the patients suffered from the Long Covid syndrome.
  • Among the five symptoms often experienced by former Covid-19 patients were
  • Fatigue,
  • Difficulty breathing when doing activities (exertional dyspnea),
  • Difficulty sleeping at night (insomnia),
  • Cough and
  • Anxiety.
  • To date, the treatment offered to Long Covid patients is based on the symptoms exhibited by the patient (symptomatic relief) and the body functions involved. Referrals to relevant areas of expertise will be made to ensure patients receive optimal clinical treatment.
  • It is therefore very important to keep ourselves and our family members safe from the dangers of Covid-19 and register for the vaccine to reduce the risk of contracting the serious disease. This is because the effects can be prolonged and reduce a person’s quality of life as well as productivity.

Stories from People with Long Covid.

1. Lung Damage.

The Free Malaysia Today carried this report:

Amira, a 29-year-old administrative executive had Covid and was hospitalized for 33 days (including 9 days of sleeping in the ICU) in Sungai Buloh Hospital. After being discharged from the hospital, the doctor said 48% of Amira’s lungs are “dead”. It is now unable to function normally. Amira said: I also cannot move as vigorously as before. Even talking makes me tired, doing simple activities like drying clothes makes me tired. (https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/bahasa/tempatan/2021/06/28/fungsi-paru-paru-tinggal-48-bekas-pesakit-covid-19-kongsi-pengalaman-dijangkiti/)

In the website Heart Matters (https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/news/coronavirus-and-your-health/long-covid) are more stories of people who suffered from Long Covid.

2. Martin had panic attack.

Martin spent 2 weeks in intensive care, where he was given antibiotics to treat the pneumonia and put on a CPAP machine [a machine to help you breathe,that is less invasive than a ventilator] to regulate his breathing and to help his lungs function. Fortunately, his condition improved and he was able to be moved to a designated Covid ward to continue his recovery. Covid impacted his mental health.

  • I found a couple of times I was getting quite emotional for no immediate reason. I used to walk down to a lake near where we live with my youngest son, and one day I had a panic attack because I thought: if something happens to me he doesn’t know where to go, what to do – it stopped me from doing certain things then. I found a couple of times I was getting quite emotional for no apparent reason.

3. Mark: Each day is a rollercoaster ride.

After 9 days of feeling unwell, Mark was admitted to a hospital and was given intravenous fluids, antibiotics and paracetamol to treat the Covid-19 infection and the pneumonia that had developed as a result.

After he got home, he felt exhausted. Although he had expected to feel a little better each day, he discovered that wasn’t the case. He said: “I just accepted that it wasn’t possible to predict how I was going to be from one day to the next.”

Then Mark developed new symptoms. “My heart was beating really fast and irregularly and I was sweating profusely. I felt more ill this time than I did before,” he says. 

Mark’s energy levels took around 6 months to get back to normal. He also suffered a painful slipped disc just two days after he originally fell ill with Covid-19, which is stopping him from getting more active.

Mark describes the psychological effects as one of the biggest aspects of his prolonged recovery. “Each day was like being on a rollercoaster in the dark,” he says. “I never knew what was going to happen the next day or how I’d feel. That was particularly difficult.

“In general the mornings were best for energy, so it was a case of making the most of the morning to do basic tasks, and to sleep when I needed it, especially in the afternoons.”

4. Suki’s Experience with Covid.

Suki Newman, 47, was always on the go, balancing a busy career as a finance director with looking after her two daughters, aged nine and ten. After returning home from a family skiing holiday, she developed a continuous cough, chest pain and had trouble breathing. She remembers, “Whenever I lay down, I felt like I was suffocating. I was crawling up the stairs on my hands and knees, to get to bed at 6 o’clock.”

Later she developed new symptoms. She was extremely tired, had bad headaches and difficulty thinking clearly. ” I was unable to manage complex information and I was forgetting words. I had problems doing simple tasks and basic logic problems. I would normally do these easily.”

For months, Suki went through cycles of feeling better, then getting worse again. As well as brain fog, debilitating headaches and fatigue, she developed many other symptoms including heart palpitations: “I could be sitting down watching the television or having a cuddle with my children and suddenly I’d feel my heart racing.”

Suki’s experience is not unique. According to Office for National Statistics estimates, 1.1 million people in the UK were reporting long Covid symptoms at the start of May 2021. These were defined as symptoms that had lasted more than four weeks. For 869,000 people, the symptoms had lasted more than 12 weeks, and for 376,000 of those, the symptoms had lasted beyond a year.

When Will It End?

Aaron Holley, associate professor of medicine at Uniformed Services University and program director of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center said:

An article in The Economist asked this question which no one can give a correct answer: When will it end?

  • For a year and a half, Covid has gripped one country after another. Just when you think the virus is beaten, a new variant comes storming back, more infectious than the last.
  • Already, two things are clear:
  • That the last phase of this pandemic will be drawn-out and painful.
  • That Covid will leave behind a different world.