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Some infected by Covid FLiRT variants report their most unpleasant symptoms yet

As the summer travel season picks up, COVID cases and hospitalizations are rising in Los Angeles County — and some of those recently reinfected are finding their latest bout to be the worst yet.

There are no signs at this point that the latest coronavirus variants are producing more severe illness, either nationally or in California.

But some doctors say this latest COVID rise challenges a long-held myth: Although new COVID infections are often mild compared with a first brush with the disease, they still can cause severe illness. Even if someone doesn't need to visit the emergency room or be hospitalized, people sometimes describe agonizing symptoms.

"The dogma is that every time you get COVID, it's milder. But I think we need to keep our minds open to the possibility that some people have worse symptoms," said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UC San Francisco infectious diseases expert.

Each time you get COVID, he said, is "kind of like playing COVID roulette."

This underscores the need for caution during summer travel and activities, even though the overall risk remains relatively mild.

Since everyone's experience with COVID is different and influenced by a number of factors, it's difficult to quantify how many are experiencing more acute symptoms now compared with previous infections. But anecdotally, including on social media sites, people are expressing shock at how sick they've become from the latest subvariants, which have been collectively nicknamed FLiRT.

"I've had COVID a few times but this is the worst I've had it," wrote one person on Reddit. The person reported recurring fever, being so congested they couldn't breathe out of their nose, "terrible sinus pressure and headache ... and I can't stand up for too long without feeling like I'm about to pass out."

"Previously COVID just felt like the common cold, but this strain is [wreaking] havoc," the person wrote. "I don't like to complain like this, but I'm shocked at how much it's taking me out."

Another person wrote that their "throat feels like razor blades" and that they feel like they're "in living misery."

"I have so much phlegm, but it hurts so bad to cough because my throat is on literal fire!!" the person wrote. "This is my 4th time having Covid and I swear I feel like this is the worst it's ever been!!"

Others who eluded COVID for more than four years got infected this summer.

One person fell ill and tested positive for the first time after hosting a Father's Day gathering for 12 people. The person described "uncontrollable body-shaking chills so bad I couldn't feel most of my fingertips."

A 42-year-old nurse, who has had COVID four times, said their latest illness has been "intense with fevers, cough, head pressure and pain. It's attacking my throat and ability to swallow."

Others, though, have said each subsequent COVID illness has been easier to recover from. And one first-time infected person wrote that they had "super mild symptoms [that] just feels like a seasonal allergy" flare-up.

Some studies back up the idea that subsequent COVID infections pose additional risks. A 2022 report in the journal Nature Medicine, focused on veterans, found that, "Compared to noninfected [people], cumulative risks and burdens of repeat infection increased according to the number of infections," heightening the risk of medical problems, hospitalization and death.

There are a number of potential reasons why a subsequent COVID illness might feel worse than the first. Say a person who was vaccinated and last boosted in 2021 got infected in 2022 and then again in 2024. The relatively long gap of not being exposed to infection, or a booster, "maybe led to [their body] not having as much immune memory. And the variants have changed so much anyway, it's like getting exposed to something relatively different from what virus the immune system had seen earlier," Chin-Hong said.

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by Anonymousreply 46July 15, 2024 5:40 AM

Pay no attention to these damn fools. Just listen to us, we're the experts.

by Anonymousreply 1July 8, 2024 6:18 PM

It'll go away by Easter and it will be a miracle!!!

by Anonymousreply 2July 8, 2024 6:29 PM

I couldn't read the LA Times article because of paywall. What exactly are the 'unpleasant' symptoms?

by Anonymousreply 3July 8, 2024 6:49 PM

You can read the whole article here, R3.

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by Anonymousreply 4July 8, 2024 6:58 PM

I woke up to a scratchy throat on Saturday and tested positive yesterday. Acetaminophen didn't do much for my temperature last night. Woke up fever-free and now I have the chills again. But so far, knock wood, it hasn't been worse than my response to the vaccine and boosters.

by Anonymousreply 5July 8, 2024 7:14 PM

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff tests positive for COVID. Vice President Harris has tested negative.

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by Anonymousreply 6July 8, 2024 7:24 PM

I've had Covid 4 or 5 times and never once experienced any respiratory issues. No coughing, sneezing, congestion, runny nose... Just debilitating fatigue, fever, diarrhea, dizziness and nausea.

by Anonymousreply 7July 8, 2024 8:45 PM

For COVID, you should own the MAGAs and mask up and never leave the house.

For Monkeypox aka MPX, you should fuck raw and attend sex parties, also to own the MAGAs, because anything else would be homophobic.

by Anonymousreply 8July 8, 2024 8:57 PM

Believe the Science!

by Anonymousreply 9July 8, 2024 8:58 PM

Cases of fear pron are surging again, I see.

by Anonymousreply 10July 8, 2024 10:31 PM

"I have COVID, therefore I am."...OP

by Anonymousreply 11July 8, 2024 11:17 PM

My partner and I have Covid for the first time. We've had no company since June 9th, we haven't a clue where it came from. I'm pretty miserable, my partner less so but he's 8 years younger than me. I'm 72. I can't compare it to other bouts obviously but the main symptom is a killer headache and a temp of 100 degrees that nsaids and Tylenol won't bring down. They are also not working on the headache. Not too much congestion, scratchy throat. I'm not going to sit in urgent care to get an antiviral so I hope I don't die.

My partner gets my stuff.

by Anonymousreply 12July 13, 2024 8:19 PM

R12 = Typhoid MARY!

by Anonymousreply 13July 13, 2024 8:22 PM

It seems to be bad in California. I have a number of friends in LA who have it.

I've not heard of anyone amongst my New York crowd, and we just had a superspreader event two weeks ago with Pride.

by Anonymousreply 14July 13, 2024 9:14 PM

R14 I'm R12 and live in California. The Covid 'summer surge' map says New York is low, western states are high.

by Anonymousreply 15July 13, 2024 9:32 PM

Realistically it's no difference to pre covid when there'd be a virus doing the rounds. It just seems 'scarier' because it has a name now.

by Anonymousreply 16July 13, 2024 10:58 PM

I don't understand this. People who have had covid before don't bother to get the vaccine and boosters? I mean, is that why these people keep getting covid over and over again?

I know that there are people who have been vaccinated and had all the boosters and still get it. But these folks who have had it 2, 3, 4 times -- how the fuck does that happen?

by Anonymousreply 17July 13, 2024 11:21 PM

R17 Coronaviruses tend to be poorly immunogenic, which means they induce weak and relatively short-lived protective immune responses. The COVID-19 virus also mutates more than most other Coronaviruses do. These characteristics contribute to why people have gotten re-infected several times in 4 years and infected or re-infected after being vaccinated. It looks as though the CDC recommendation going forward is going to be immunization every 6 months, with an updated vaccine formulation every year.

by Anonymousreply 18July 13, 2024 11:48 PM

I'm shocked that my partner got this from a grocery store or perhaps running by someone in the park. I thought our anti social lives would protect us. As I mentioned upthread, neither one of us has had covid before.

by Anonymousreply 19July 13, 2024 11:54 PM

Blame china.

by Anonymousreply 20July 14, 2024 12:11 AM

Wedgwood or Waterford, R20?

by Anonymousreply 21July 14, 2024 12:13 AM

[quote] Blame china.

Our first time getting Covid my partner and i were sitting on the sofa, miserable and feverish, when he turned to me and said, "tell me, does this feel that Chinese?"

by Anonymousreply 22July 14, 2024 12:20 AM

r18, totally agree. We may have had this conversation before. Are you in the SF Bay Area?

by Anonymousreply 23July 14, 2024 12:38 AM

I've had every single covid shot I've been offered, I think a total of seven. And I haven't had it -- yet.

What with the orange idiot and all, I don't need more thing to worry about.


by Anonymousreply 24July 14, 2024 12:39 AM

R24 How did you tolerate the boosters?

by Anonymousreply 25July 14, 2024 12:59 AM

Same ol', same ol', R25. Sore arm, a little weak and tired the day after.

No big deal.

It was kind of a pain (literally) the time before when I got the flu shot in one arm and the covid in the other. But I lived.

by Anonymousreply 26July 14, 2024 1:06 AM

R23 I’m not in the SF Bay area, but I’ve previously posted on DL about those characteristics of the virus, except the last sentence, which is a relatively new development.

by Anonymousreply 27July 14, 2024 3:15 AM

r18, am also an Eldergay Immunologist (researcher, not an MD), now retired. Our paths may have crossed, anyway, lol.

The last hands-on project I worked on in the lab was during global shutdown when streets, freeways, and my Big Pharma were ghost towns. I helped produce cell lines that overexpress the spike protein to mass produce antibodies that would have been used for passive immunization. That approach turned out to be unnecessary because effective mRNA vaccines became available, but we did our part.

In the 80s and 90s, I worked on HIV vaccines. Total failure, but someone had to try (and many did try).

Am grumpy and arthritic now. People who aren't anti-vaxers but who are simply too lazy to get boosted piss me off. I don't care about Darwin Award-winning anit-vaxers -- except that they also contribute to the spread of COVID and its emerging variants.

by Anonymousreply 28July 14, 2024 4:05 AM

I hope you feel better soon r12. Sorry to hear this.

by Anonymousreply 29July 14, 2024 4:08 AM

r12, just go to a corner Urgent Care shop (it doesn't have to be a crowded hospital ER). Medicare will cover it. Get Paxlovid. You might rebound for a day or two, but ultimately, it could save your ass at age 72 and help prevent long COVID. If you had HIV, would you refuse to take anti-viral meds? If your house were on fire, would you refuse to have hot firemens spray it with water? What TF is wrong with you? I'll give you my Uber account numbers if you promise to just do it.

by Anonymousreply 30July 14, 2024 4:25 AM

This pandemic could have been mostly stopped in it's tracks if Trump hadn't lied about it. I wish his head had exploded today.

by Anonymousreply 31July 14, 2024 4:45 AM

I got a booster maybe two months ago and will get the newly formulated one in the fall.

by Anonymousreply 32July 14, 2024 4:51 AM

[quote] I helped produce cell lines that overexpress the spike protein to mass produce antibodies that would have been used for passive immunization.

R28 Was the plan to make humanized monoclonal antibodies to spike protein? The last time I read about passive antibodies (which admittedly was about 3 years ago), all but one of the existing antibodies were no longer effective against then-current COVID strains. I don’t know if newer antibodies have been generated or not.

I was in a major hospital on Friday for an outpatient procedure, and I was the only one wearing a mask, including the medical staff! It’s going to be hopeless under those conditions.

The one time I got COVID was earlier this year and could have come only from a dental cleaning when I wasn’t wearing a mask, the hygienist was (probably N95), but we chatted a lot. One mask is known to be less effective than two masks. It was 6 weeks after my 7th vaccination, and I still wasn’t protected. I had to take Paxlovid, and although the infection passed, a chronic condition became exacerbated during the infection and did not get better.

Did you ever do any of your training in the Boston area? Lots of immunologists pass through Boston at one time or another. And yes, the hospital where no one was wearing masks was the big one.

by Anonymousreply 33July 14, 2024 5:22 AM

r18, yes, the employer from whom I retired had the technology to develop hybridomas vs. specific antigens and rapidly humanize the monoclonals. Choosing which part/sequence of the spike protein was a crap shoot, but we did get neutralizing antibodies (for in vitro assays, anyway).

Am sorry you got a chronic condition from this SARS-2 asshole virus. Despite their cuteness, I'm blaming long-term issues on misbehaved Macrophages.

Did all of my training at the big one out here (hint: not Stanford) but attended many conferences in Boston. Off topic, but I spent the last 6 years commuting to Boston because I randomly met someone from there. We're married now and chose to settle in my snow and iceless hometown. Nevertheless, I did once end up as a patient in MGH with a broken toe where they kept me for two days after digging into my medical records. It was as if they were competing with my home medical team. Everyone was masked and kind (two years ago). If only poor people got this much care...

VOTN or someone else upthread mentioned that COVID is not currently a big thing in the NE. It's becoming bad in CA. You hear about cases from friends and we're starting to see more people wearing masks and using hand sanitizer in grocery stores and restaurants. Have been vaxxed 7 times, never had it, lungs and heart are already bad, don't want it. Am lucky. As r24 senior lesbian said, I'd rather spend my time fighting Trump.

by Anonymousreply 34July 14, 2024 6:53 AM

[quote]This pandemic could have been mostly stopped in it's tracks if Trump hadn't lied about it. I wish his head had exploded today.

More like the Democrats did not want to close the borders and considered it "racist" blaming the Chinese.

by Anonymousreply 35July 14, 2024 6:58 AM

[quote]I'm shocked that my partner got this from a grocery store

Why would that shock you? Hardly anyone masks now and breath vapor doesn't automatically hit the ground as soon as we exhale, especially not with ACs blowing droplets and pathogens around.

by Anonymousreply 36July 14, 2024 7:06 AM

Nah, I doubt America could have stopped Covid. There was already a big outbreak in New York before anyone even realised it. America could have done a better job slowing its spread though.

Here in Australia we had a Island to ourselves, no early outbreaks and a strong quarantine system already in place (even between states). We only just managed to keep it in check and only for 16 months. With all the luck in the world Civid still finds a way.

by Anonymousreply 37July 14, 2024 7:14 AM

R30 Thank you for that information.

by Anonymousreply 38July 14, 2024 10:11 AM

The variants that caused the spread in the US came from Italy. CDC was going to shut down flights from Europe in February, but Trump stopped them.

People in New York knew their were cases earlier, but the doctors had to ask the the State to ask the CDC to do the test and CDC wouldn’t test anyone who didn’t have a connection to China (one assumes at Trump’s direction since they had already tried to shut down flights from Europe)

There would have been a pandemic of some sort in the States, but there’s no question it was exponentially worse because of Trump’s interference with the CDC.

by Anonymousreply 39July 14, 2024 10:25 AM

[quote]VOTN or someone else upthread mentioned that COVID is not currently a big thing in the NE.

Glad to hear it, 'cause I'm driving "up home" on Monday, and I'll be visiting my mother in the assisted living place and taking her to favorite restaurants while I'm there.

And the heat! Hope my truck makes it and that the truck's air conditioner doesn't die before I get there.

by Anonymousreply 40July 14, 2024 11:35 AM

Those whingers in OP's story need to think back to the original Covid and its early variants, where the "most unpleasant symptom" was that you couldn't breathe and your oxygen sats plummeted.

by Anonymousreply 41July 14, 2024 3:45 PM

R14, I was in Accord/Woodstock 2 weeks ago, and 2 people that were friends of my friends had it.

I’m in LA, and have known only 1 person that got it, and I’m in the film industry.

by Anonymousreply 42July 14, 2024 4:14 PM

I’ve had Covid twice and I didn’t have any lasting effects. I was just exhausted and wanted to sleep. I had weird symptoms a day before though. Both times I was unbelievable thirsty the day before and the second time my hand swelled up and itched the day before I fell ill

by Anonymousreply 43July 15, 2024 3:54 AM

Since Covid started, I haven't gotten the flu or Covid.

by Anonymousreply 44July 15, 2024 4:19 AM

Seattle here, partner and I both have it, him in is 4th day, me in my 5th. Way more debilitating than last time, first night was really bad, chills, fever, and misery, then olfactory senses and the cough, all while feeling beyond exhausted. I started PAXLOVID Friday night in the hopes that it would stop things from getting worse, let's hope it does.

by Anonymousreply 45July 15, 2024 5:36 AM

All right this is what this covid does - it was supposed to say 'does its job' not just does in the last sentence, and the partner has been a husband for three and a half years but did my brain work right and say husband? No.

This one's definitely not an easier variant and thus far it's taking longer than the last time..

by Anonymousreply 46July 15, 2024 5:40 AM
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