Covid-19 update

No new cases this week; long covid understanding starting to emerge


March 17, 2022

With no new official cases reported, the cumulative number of covid-19 cases in Wahkiakum County remained at 309 this week. Two previously reported cases remain active.

The number of reported hospitalizations in the county is 25, and six deaths have been attributed to the virus.

“We have had no new cases in almost two weeks,” Wahkiakum Health and Human Services Director Chris Bischoff said. “Cases are largely continuing to decline across the country and in Washington.

"There are some hot spots in other countries. China is currently battling outbreaks in several of their large cities for example.”

Understanding long covid

“This is still a rapidly emerging field of study, we are learning more about this all the time,” Bischoff said. “So, this information is very subject to change as new information continues to emerge.

"What seems to be accepted is that long covid tends to be more prominent in people who were more symptomatic when they had covid-19. There are estimates of millions of Americans that have or are suffering from this.”

Bischoff said it was unclear why some people develop long covid and others don’t, but four factors seem to increase the risk:

--High levels of viral RNA early during an infection: “There is a growing body of research that shows the people who have a very high viral load (large number of virus organisms) tend to be sicker originally and also higher at risk for long covid,” Bischoff said.

--The presence of certain autoantibodies: “The body's immune system occasionally misfires and attacks itself,” Bischoff said. “This happens in some other diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.”

--The reactivation of Epstein-Barr virus: “The Epstein-Barr virus is very common among humans,” Bischoff said. “It is estimated that about 96 percent of the population has this virus. This type of virus hides out in cells in the body and persists for life, generally. A very small number of people develop a disease known as mononucleosis or ‘mono' as its commonly known from the Epstein-Barr virus. This virus has recently been implicated in a number of human diseases including cancer and multiple sclerosis.”

--Having type 2 diabetes: “This is a little unclear whether there are other diseases that should be included with type 2 diabetes,” Bischoff said, “but type 2 is definitely implicated.”

“One of the most ubiquitous symptoms has been described as ‘brain fog,’” Bischoff added. “This appears to have been borne out by several new studies that are showing physiological changes to the brains of people diagnosed with long covid. Chronic fatigue and difficulty breathing are also pretty common symptoms of long covid. There are a significant number of other symptoms being reported that are more difficult to validate.”


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