As of March 7, North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services confirms 1,140 people are currently hospitalized because of COVID-19 infection statewide.
That’s a substantial drop from the peak period of the pandemic. While masks for students are now optional in Mecklenburg County schools, restaurants cannot operate above a 50 percent capacity limitation and still must function under certain guidelines that include cleaning requirements, masks are specified distancing.
While dangers of infection still exist, our city, county and state, as well as the country, have seemingly taken an approach of learning to live with, rather than stomp out the resilient COVID-19 virus.
However, recent evidence released from a long-term study has shown the COVID-19 virus can cause damage far more extensive than its perceived immediate impact. According to Oxford University’s School of Medicine COVID-19 can cause possibly permanent brain damage.
That information isn’t exactly new, but the study is the first confirmational look at the brains of individuals who had not contracted COVID and then later did so.
As a result the scans taken before and then after show damage to parts of the brain tied to the sense of smell, a loss to the overall size of the brain equivalent to one to 10 years in aging and possible deficits in cognitive function.
“This study overcomes some of the major limitations of most brain related studies of COVID-19 today, which rely on analysis and interpretation of a single time point in people who had COVID-19,” Dr Serena Spudich of Yale University told NBC News in an interview March 7.
“It is brain damage, but it is possible that it is reversible,” Gwenaëlle Douaud, an associate professor at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford says in the study.
While this information provides us with no clear-cut future free of this potentially lethal coronavirus, one thing is certain: it is still with us.
While fewer people are wearing masks; and businesses like nightclubs and pubs have reopened their doors to large crowds, authorities insist using common sense is still the best policy. Maintaining social distancing and wearing masks in large crowds remains a good personal policy.